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Chapter 1: The Fall of An Empire
  • Chapter 1: The Fall of An Empire


    Chapter 8 of Last Empire of Europe: The Soviet Union by Alexei Trymoshenko

    “The reporters and officials of Moscow gathered at Vnukovo airport after the end of the August Coup in the early hours of August 22 to welcome the president on his return from his Crimean nightmare saw a tired by upbeat Gorbachev descend from the steps of the plane. While Gorbachev’s family retired to a limousine arranged for them by the Russian government, the president spoke with the media. He spoke about the Crimean captivity and promised to say more about the days to come after governmental affairs were looked after. But he also gave an assessment of the new political situation and the tasks awaiting him.


    Gorbachev exiting the plane after the August Coup.

    “The main thing”, said Gorbachev before the cameras, “is that all we have done since 1985 has produced real results.” He thanked Boris Yeltsin personally for his stand during the coup and expressed special appreciation to the citizens of the Russian Federal Soviet Republic.

    However, the next few days, Gorbachev would miss a good amount of chances to become a new kind of politician and would lose the all-important first round in his contest for power with Boris Yeltsin, the ever more powerful leader of the Russian Federation. This loss would have a profound impact on the future of the Soviet Union.

    Eager to sort out the governmental mess after the August Coup, Gorbachev began to fill in the cabinet positions and started to dismiss people who were sympathetic to the coup. However, this would not last. Yeltsin decided that every ministerial position would need to be checked by him before being appointed, and he would not allow people not ratified by him to gain the positions in the cabinet. Gorbachev indebted to Yeltsin and having lost a lot of his remaining political prestige after the coup, could do nothing but remain red in humiliation and follow the orders that Yeltsin gave him, such as appointing Yeltsin’s yes-man Yevgenii Shaposhnikov as the new Minister of Defense being promoted from his previous position as the Air Marshal. Other yes-men of Yeltsin such as Vadim Bakatin etc were also carried out much to the humiliation of Gorbachev himself. Aleksander Bessmertnykh, the Foreign Minister who had not been willing to support any side during the coup was also swept away from his position on the insistence of Yeltsin and replaced by another Yeltsin ally.

    Gorbachev was clearly in heavy retreat. He was confused, and his own political position undermined by accusations that he had orchestrated the coup to garner sympathy and destroy the factions of the CPSU. Gorbachev was quickly losing ground to the Russian nationalist faction led by Yeltsin. However he returned to Moscow, determined to regain his position not only as the head of state but also as the head of the party. However Gorbachev considered the breakup of the CPSU inevitable by all standards. The coup had made sure of that. However he wanted an amicable divorce, and a united leftist front against what was seemingly a nationalistic attack on the state itself. It would have given him more credence for his democratic views if elections between several left factions could be coordinated to show his commitment to democracy. Yeltsin had suspected that Gorbachev would do something like that, however while he had ordered the Central Committee of the Communist Party to be closed down in wait for Gorbachev to call a CPSU meeting, the general chaos after the coup prevented the orders from reaching the Moscow authorities, who were undecided about closing the committee building or not.

    On the eve of August 22, Gorbachev called for a meeting of the highest deputies of the state party to be held on August 23 much to Yeltsin’s horror. At the same time, instigated by pro-Yeltsin forces, popular liberal democratic supporters of democratic revolution had gathered in Moscow to start demonstrations against the government and the Soviet Union. They managed to, aided by the Moscow police, who were Yeltsin allies, to tear the statue of Iron Felix, the founder of the KGB, down in Lubianka Square.

    On August 23, Gorbachev and Yeltsin began to bargain for ministerial positions. Yeltsin aided by the help of his Latvian Marxist ally, Gennadii Burbulis, managed to undermine Gorbachev as Yeltsin demanded that the shredding of documents in party headquarters be stopped. Party members had been shredding documents implicating them in the coup. Shredding was indeed going on, however it was few and far between, far from the massive amount that both Burbulis and Yeltsin claimed. Nikolai Kruchina, who was the Head of the Central Committee Staff and preparing for the meeting of the party leaders that evening was assaulted near the committee building by nationalists and liberal democrats, being demanded to open the building to the rioters and the protestors to stop the shredding of documents. Kruchina, for purposes unknown to us, agreed that he would stop the shredding of documents, but he would not allow protestors inside, as it would impede the future meeting. Dissatisfied, the protestors tried to enter, however KGB reinforcements trained their machine guns at the protestors in clear warning. Many had seen the results of such in Tianmen in China, and as such were not willing to repeat such an incident. The Protestors continued to riot, but did not force their way in.


    the toppling of the Felix statue in Lubianka Square.

    Before leaving for the party meeting, Yeltsin asked Gorbachev for a public television address to the nation. It would be Gorbachev’s greatest blunder, yet greatest feat as well. Gorbachev agreed to the address, and on live he thanked Yeltsin and the Russian parliament for acting so decisively against the coup. He revealed that he had signed a decree elevating Alexander Rutskoi, a colonel at the time to the rank of general for his services. Yeltsin had expected Gorbachev to make a ploy about the Union Treaty and speak about it, catch him on it and discredit him on national television. Gorbachev must have caught on to this himself, because he made no mention of the union treaty. Yeltsin backtracked and asked the suspension of the activities of the Russian Communist Party, which if Gorbachev did, would destroy the central power of the Soviet Union, which despite its political liberalization, was still very much ran by the party. Gorbachev was stunned by the demand and angrily replied, losing his cool, and said, “Mr. Yeltsin, banning parties and suspending their activities was the manner of doing things in the autocratic Soviet Union of old. Both you and I have tried to move past such days in the past decade, however reviving such manner of doing things in the government would be hypocritical of both of us.” Of You was left unsaid but heard by everyone in the shooting corridor and everyone watching from their homes with their televisions. Yeltsin was for the first time caught off guard by Gorbachev, and Yeltsin amended his position and asked what would be happening with the Russian Communist Party members who had supported the coup. Gorbachev replied with the fact that a commission would survey the members and the court would prosecute them through legal and lawful manners.

    Gorbachev was successful, utilizing the small amount of spine he had grown during the interview and his slightly increased presence and therefore influence to vote on a dissolution of the central frame of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, with 36% of the party voting in favor of dissolving the central framework, 31% voting against it and the remainder abstaining with their votes. Led by Rhyzov, the CPSU nonetheless, renewed their pledge to save the Soviet Union and stabilize the situation. Kruchin, was told to draft up a new framework for the party to work in a more decentralized manner and to provide a unified force against the nationalistic forces against them.

    However the political damage was done. Many resented that Gorbachev had broken up the party structure and decentralized the structure of the party, and the small amount of influence he had strangled from Yeltsin continued to die out. The Soviet President’s downfall became complete on Saturday August 24. On the morning of that day he and Yeltsin attended the funeral of the three young men who had died defending the Soviet White House on the night of August 20 against the coup. Gorbachev tried to use the situation to express his gratitude to those who had defended democracy. He was also eager to show the all-Union flag, no longer being able to hide his real intent of the All-Union, awarding the title Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously to all three men. The crowd was moved that is for sure, however Yeltsin managed to finally steal Gorbachev’s thunder. The Russian Federation had no awards of its own and as a part of the USSR, devolved as it may have been, it had no authority to grant any wards. Yeltsin simply asked the mothers of the three young men in open television to forgive him for not being able to save their sons. With this comment, he had won the day.

    After the funeral, Yeltsin forced Gorbachev alongside the Russian Prime Minister, Ivan Silaev to pass a number of decrees strengthening the republics, whilst at the same time, weakening central authority. With his political capital spent and in shambles, Gorbachev finally resigned as the General Secretary of the Party, citing the attitude of its leadership during the coup. This alienated the party, and Yeltsin had virtually every right to deal with the party in his own ways now that Gorbachev, his main rival was out of proper power.

    The first to go was Boris Pugo, the Minister of the Interior. The man had committed suicide. A suicide note stuck to his desk wrote that “This is all a mistake. I have lived honestly all my life, and I now bear the consequences of one mistake.”

    Pugo had been an honest man, and a hardworker, a rarity in the last years of the Soviet Union, and his death, his loyalties misplaced as it was during the coup, was a hefty blow. Similarly, another man who believed in what he was doing during the coup, yet morally sound, Marshal Sergei Akhromeev committed suicide as well in his office. In the letter he wrote to Gorbachev and the Supreme Soviet before killing himself he wrote, “Beginning in 1990, I was convinced, as I am convinced today, that our nation is heading towards perdition. Soon it will be dismembered. I looked for a way to say that aloud, even as I signed all the arms limitation treaties……I understand that as a Marshal of the Soviet Union I have violated my military oath and committed a grave military crime……Nothing remains for me but to take the responsibility for what I have done.” To his suicide note, the Marshal attached around 58 rubles, the money he owed to Kremlin cafeteria. Grigory Yavlinsky, the future President of the Russian Federation remembers him as ‘A misguided man, who supported the coup, however no one could fault his morals. He had fought for the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War, and he could not bear to see its dissolution.’


    Marshal Sergei Akhromeev

    Nikolai Kruchina, probably the last man who could have been able to save the Party and its apparatus, too committed suicide by jumping off an apartment when his finances became suspect in the eyes of the now Yeltsin run government. Several others in the Soviet apparatus committed suicide, or broke down, being arrested by Yeltsin. The Party with a State was falling down, Kruchina, Pugo and the Marshal were only the first unfortunate victims.


    Chapter 18 of The Convoluted Independence of Ukraine

    During the entire scene of the coup, Ukrainian democrats and nationalists had come down to Kiev to protest against the central government and many demanded independence, raising the blue and yellow standard that was so typically associated with the Ukrainian peoples. Leonid Kravchuk, the silver haired Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, had to stay on the defensive, as he did not wish to take any side during the coup. What happened in Moscow during the coup had caught everyone in the Ukrainian parliament and government by surprise, Kravchuck included. It presented a major challenge to the growing autonomist, regionalist and nationalist movement in Ukraine, as the coup makers made it an implicit promise that they would recentralize the government, and that meant taking away the powers of the internal republics one by one that had been gifted to them after 1985. Kravchuk had also resisted calls from the Communist Secretary in Ukraine, Stanislav Hurenko to place the western districts of Ukraine within Ruthenia and Rusyn lands under martial law, and to declare an emergency, as Kravchuk, already fighting for his political life during the coup, could not make promises that would degrade his standing any further, especially in western Ukraine, which was the highest hotbed of Ukrainian nationalism and regionalism in comparison to eastern Ukraine.


    Leonid Kravchuk

    Krvachuk’s stand against declaring an emergency was shared by the Ukrainian government. None of its members supported the coup, recalled the liberal deputy Prime Minister of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Serhii Komisarenko. Many in the Ukrainian presidium had openly called the coup anticonstitutional and that the Ukrainians had to take matters into their own hands. However if there was a lack of support for the coup, there was also no lack of fear. Many feared the coup would succeed, and Ukrainian autonomy which had become more than just fanciful words on a paper after 1985, would once again become fanciful words on a paper.

    Meanwhile Kravchuk had conducted an impossible balancing act in Ukraine, addressing the Ukrainian Republic, calling for calm, however he refused to either support or condemn the coup. Reiterating his calls for calm he pleaded for time.

    However Ukrainian nationalists were going to take advantage of the chaos in the central government to do what they wanted – independence. Led by Viacheslav Chornovil, a longtime prisoner of the Gulag and now the head of the Lviv Regional Administration in Western Ukraine, spent the days leading up to the coup in Zaporizhia conducting a political campaign as a democratic candidate against the communists in the upcoming elections. Chornovil’s first reaction to the coup was basically the same as that of Kravchuk’s; both were eager to make a deal with the military, exchanging peace on the streets for its noninterference in governmental affairs. This strategy was also adopted by key Yeltsin ally, Anatoly Sobchak, the democratically elected mayor of Leningrad. With the help of his deputy, Vladimir Putin, Sobchak made a deal with the KGB exchanging peace in Leningrad for his noninterference with whatever was going on in Moscow. But Chornovil’s reaction, dictated largely by his role as head of the regional administration in the largest center of western Ukraine, was not shared by many opposition leaders in Kyiv, some of whom called for active resistance.

    On August 21, the decisive day of the coup, Kravchuk immediately did what the opposition deputies had been demanding for days: he jumped on Yeltsin’s bandwagon. He later claimed that he had kept in touch with the besieged Russian leader and his entourage throughout the coup. The Ukrainian Speaker was the first republican leader whom Yeltsin had called on the morning of August 19. Although he failed to convince Kravchuk to join forces in resisting the coup, he received assurances that Kravchuk would not recognize the Emergency Committee. Kravchuk never formally violated his promise to the Russian leader. On the last day of the coup, Yeltsin told George Bush that he believed he could trust Kravchuk.

    On August 22, the day of Gorbachev’s return to Moscow, Kravchuk finally agreed to summon parliament to an emergency session. He presented his agenda for the session at the press conference he called that day to explain his vacillation during the coup. Kravchuk wanted parliament to condemn the coup, establish parliamentary control over the military, KGB, and police on Ukrainian territory, create a national guard, and withdraw from negotiations on a new union treaty. “It isn’t necessary for us to rush into signing the union treaty,” said Kravchuk to the press. “I believe that at this moment the Soviet Union needs to form a government for this transitional period, maybe a committee or council, perhaps with nine people or so, which could protect the actions of democratic institutions. All political forms must be re-evaluated. However, I do believe that we should urgently sign an economic agreement.” Kravchuk was not speaking of independence. His agenda was the complete destruction of the Union center as it had existed before the coup and its replacement by a committee of republican leaders. It was a program of confederation. Ironically for the man, Ukraine would not follow this model, however another republic within the Soviet Union would.

    However the national democrats wanted more. Their parliamentary leader, Ihor Yukhnovsky demanded independence. The principal author of the draft of the declaration of independence was Levko Lukianenko, the head of the Ukrainian Republican Party, by far the best organized political force in Ukraine during that period. Lukianenko had spent more than a quarter-century in the Gulag for his dedication to Ukrainian independence. He was an embodiment of Ukraine’s sacrifice in the struggle for freedom, and the democratic deputies wanted him to be the first to read the declaration. It was only because of the commotion in the democratic ranks that the honor fell to Yavorivsky. A few weeks before the coup, during President Bush’s luncheon with Ukrainian political leaders, Lukianenko had approached him and given him a note with three questions. Two of them dealt with the Ukrainian opposition, and the third, concerning Ukrainian independence, read (in shaky English) as follows: “Now that inevitable disintegration of the Russian empire is a fact, whether the government of the USA the most powerful state in the world can help Ukraine to become a full-rightsubject of international relations?”

    Despite the fact that even the American delegations told him that Ukraine had no historical, political or economic basis for full independence, Lukianenko no longer believed in dialogue. He did believe, however, that the defeat of the coup presented a huge opportunity to make a breakthrough to his goal. At a general meeting of democratic deputies on the morning of August 23, Lukianenko surprised his colleagues by proposing that the question of Ukrainian independence be placed on the agenda of the emergency session of parliament. “The moment is so unique that we should solve the fundamental problem and proclaim Ukraine an independent state,” he later recalled saying in his appeal to the deputies. “If we do not do this now, we may never do it. For this period in which the communists are at a loss is a brief period: they will soon get back on their feet, and they have a majority.” Knowing how ephemeral their real power was, the democratic deputies accepted Lukianenko’s argument and entrusted him with the task of drafting the declaration. “There are two approaches to the document that we can write,” said Lukianenko to a fellow deputy whom he had handpicked as a coauthor. “We can write it either as a long or a short document. If we write it as a long document, then it will inevitably prompt discussion; if we write a short one, then it has a chance of prompting less discussion. Let’s write the shortest possible document so that we give them as little as possible to discuss about where to put a comma or what has to be changed.” And they did just that. It was not “quite the 4th of July,” joked the acting US consul in Kyiv, John Stepanchuk, later about the brevity of the declaration of Ukrainian independence. Nevertheless, when Lukianenko presented the freshly drafted text to his colleagues in the democratic caucus, they agreed with his reasoning. With few editorial changes, the text was approved for distribution among the deputies at the opening of the emergency session.


    Kievans celebrating the delcaration of independence.

    However the members of the parliament were split on what grounds they would be able to declare independence. Finally they declared that a referendum would be held in Ukraine regarding independence. At 9 pm the Ukrainian parliament voted for independence. Similarly the Belarusians also voted to a hold an independence referendum, led by pro-Russian Vyacheslav Kebich.


    Chapter 19 of The Last Empire of Europe

    All was not well however. On August 28, Rutskoi flew to the Crimea to save the president of the Soviet Union, he headed south yet again, this time to save the Soviet Union itself. Promoted by Gorbachev from colonel to major general after the success of his first mission, Rutskoi was on his way to Kyiv to deal with a crisis that had erupted in Russo-Ukrainian relations after Ukraine’s declaration of independence. The plan was to keep Ukraine within the Union by raising the prospect of partitioning its territory if Ukraine insisted on independence. Reporting on this new mission of Rutskoi and his colleagues, a correspondent for the pro-Yeltsin Nezavisimaia gazeta wrote, “Today they have the opportunity to inform the Ukrainian leadership of Yeltsin’s position that, given Ukraine’s exit from membership in ‘a certain USSR,’ the article of the bilateral agreement on borders becomes invalid.” Translated into plain language, this meant that Russia was denouncing its existing treaty with Ukraine, its neighbor, and threatening Ukraine with partition of its territory. “It is expected,” continued the newspaper account, “that independence will be declared today at a session of the Supreme Soviet of the Crimea.” The independence of the Crimea, an autonomous republic within Ukraine, could set off a process of partition that might lead to a violent confrontation between the two largest Soviet republics.

    This was a position that the Russians did not want to take however would if they were forced. However the Crimean Parliament voted independently of the Ukrainian Parliament on August 29, 1991 to declare independence from Ukraine when the news of the Ukrainian independence became known. Led by Yury Meshkov and Nikolai Bagrov, the Crimean Parliament had decided to split off from Ukraine, which it deemed to have acted without consulting its autonomous government, and as such the actions of Kiev in the eyes of the Crimean government was illegal and anti-constitutional.

    Aided by Sobchak, Rutskoi came to Kiev where he pointed out that Ukraine and Russia were one, and independence was not an option. Yeltsin had been backed to an impossible corridor. He now had to take up the mantle of being where Gorbachev had been a few days prior, to try and save the union. After the meeting with the democratic deputies, the Russian representatives and Soviet parliamentarians sat down with the official Ukrainian delegation, led by Leonid Kravchuk. Their meeting would last long into the night. From time to time the participants would come out to tell the crowd of people around the parliament building how the negotiations were going and try to calm them down. Sobchak’s attempts to appeal to the people over the heads of their unyielding leaders produced disastrous results. When he told the crowds, “It is important for us to be together,” they responded by chanting, “No!” “Shame!” “Ukraine without Moscow!” After midnight, when Kravchuk and Rutskoi finally called a press conference to report on their deliberations, the results favored the Ukrainian leadership. The two countries agreed to create joint structures to manage the transition and work on economic agreements. However the Russians also forced the Ukrainians to accept the Crimean declaration of independence, with Sobchak severely criticizing Ukrainian hypocrisy, stating that if Ukraine deserves independence then so did the Crimeans.

    The outcome of the late-night deliberations in Kyiv that disappointed Stankevich encouraged Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was upset about the Russian takeover of the Union government and wanted to take control of Soviet armed forces in his republic. That day the Kazakh leader fired off a telegram to Yeltsin requesting that Rutskoi’s delegation visit Kazakhstan. It read, “Given that so far the press has carried no clearly expressed renunciation on Russia’s part of territorial claims on contiguous republics, social protest is growing in Kazakhstan, with unforeseeable consequences. This may force the republic to adopt measures analogous to those of Ukraine.” The threat to follow the Ukrainian example and declare outright independence, voiced by the leader of another nuclear republic, worked. Rutskoi, Stankevich, and Sobchak had their plane refueled and flew east instead of returning to Moscow. In Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan, they signed a declaration analogous to the one negotiated in Kyiv. At his press conference with Nazarbayev, Rutskoi assured journalists that there were no territorial problems between Russia and Kazakhstan.

    The setback in the Russian offensive against the increasingly obstinate Republican leaders and the confusion in Yeltsin’s ranks came at a time when Yeltsin himself felt completely exhausted, as was often the case after periods of extreme stress and feverish activity. Even before the crisis over the recognition of Soviet-era borders between republics, he announced to his aides that he was leaving Moscow for a two-week vacation. However before he do so, the Soviet hardliners struck one final time, and a communist hardliner killed Yeltsin when he came onto Red Square assassinating the man with a bomb blast that killed Yeltsin and injured several of his guards. The teenager who had thrown the bomb was shot down by bodyguards. In order to stop the escalation of the crisis from having an adverse effect anymore, Rutskoi was quickly elevated to the post of President of Russia, whilst Sobchak was made Vice-President. The situation was turning dangerous.


    Alesandr Rutskoi, the successor of Yeltsin.

    The growing crisis in relations between the Russian leadership and the republics allowed Gorbachev and his advisers, who seemed to have been swept from the scene only a few days earlier, to attempt a political comeback. Gorbachev’s return to center stage in Soviet politics began at a session of the Soviet parliament on August 28, the day Yeltsin was assassinated and the Rutskoi delegation flew to Kyiv. That day, for the first time since the coup, he found himself under attack for being subservient to Yeltsin and the Russian leadership because he supported the appointment of Yeltsin’s Prime Minister, Ivan Silaev, as head of the all-Union government. Gorbachev’s economic adviser Vadim Medvedev noted in his diary entry for the Autust 28, “The greatest passions are swirling around the creation of Silaev’s committee. People are saying that because of that committee, Union agencies are being supplanted by Russian ones. The president is being accused of acting at the dictate of the Russians.”

    Ivan Silaev came to Gorbachev’s rescue, explaining that the republics would be invited to join his committee. That explanation did not sit well with many deputies, whom Gorbachev was now asking to rubber-stamp the liquidation of the cabinet, a body they had created less than a year earlier by amending the existing constitution. Gorbachev maneuvered this way and that but eventually allowed himself his first critical remarks about the now late Russian president and his actions since the coup. He said that once the coup was over, neither the Russian president nor the Russian parliament or government had the right to violate the constitution by claiming the prerogatives of the central government. Specifically at issue was the Russian attempt to take over the Soviet central bank in the chaos that followed the defeat of the coup. Gorbachev’s advisers protested. Later that day, the Russian parliament signed a decree suspending the takeover. Gorbachev and his circle were glad to claim their first victory over their Russian nemesis.

    The next major victory for Gorbachev came on September 2, the opening day of the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR, the Soviet super parliament that had the authority to change the constitution. The meeting began with Nursultan Nazarbayev reading a “Statement of the President of the USSR and the Supreme Leaders of the Republics.” It became known as 10 + 1, with 10 standing for the number of republics that subscribed to the statement and 1 for the center, represented by Gorbachev. A few days earlier Moscow newspapers had been full of articles claiming that Russia, and not the Union center, should be the 1 in the formula 9 + 1 or 10 + 1, but few Congress deputies were open to that idea. Nazarbayev’s statement brought the center back into the equation and put Gorbachev back in the game. That was the Soviet president’s main achievement.

    The statement itself was the product of a compromise that reduced the actual importance of the center in all-Union affairs to a degree unimaginable before the coup. Produced at a meeting between Gorbachev and the leaders of the republics the previous evening, it reflected the new political reality—the growing power of RFSR and of the republican leaders in all-Union affairs. Leonid Kravchuk came to Moscow to say that Ukraine was implementing its declaration of independence, but before it was confirmed by referendum, he was prepared to take part in negotiations on the union treaty—just in case the declaration was not approved. Earlier he had informed Rutskoi, who was insisting on a federal structure for the Union, that the only structure acceptable to Ukraine was confederal. Nazarbayev, asserting that Ukraine’s declaration of independence had rendered the old federal Union obsolete, also threw his support behind the idea of confederation. It envisioned the Soviet Union not as a state in its own right but as a coalition of states that would create joint bodies for the conduct of foreign and military policy.

    With the leaders of the two largest non-Russian republics presenting a united front, Gorbachev and Rutskoi had little choice but to give in to their demand. The Nazarbayev statement, prepared and signed by Gorbachev, Rutskoi, and other leaders of the Soviet republics, called for a new union constitution and proposed a set of measures for the so-called transitional period. They included the replacement of the Supreme Soviet and the Congress of People’s Deputies with a Constitutional Assembly composed of representatives of the republican parliaments; the creation of a State Council, the new executive body, consisting of the Union president and the leaders of the republics; and the formation of an Economic Committee made up of representatives of the republics, to replace not only the now defunct cabinet but also the controversial Silaev committee. In addition, Nazarbayev proposed that a new union treaty be signed and comprehensive economic and security agreements be concluded among the republics to guarantee the rights and freedoms of their citizens. The republics declared their intention to join the United Nations. Appearances to the contrary, Nazarbayev’s statement turned out to be a blueprint for the takeover of the center not by one republic, as Yeltsin had attempted, but by all of them. Like Yeltsin’s takeover bid before he was killed, it was directed against the existing constitution, which was declared irrelevant. To the surprise of the delegates, the declaration demanded that the Congress of People’s Deputies endorse this assault on the constitution and then dissolve itself. In their memoirs, both Gorbachev and Rutskoi refer very favorably to the Nazarbayev statement and defend its constitutionality. At the time, they also did their best to have the Congress of People’s Deputies approve the document and dissolve itself.

    But after days of debate, Gorbachev and the leaders of the republics finally bullied the Congress of People’s Deputies into submission. According to Rutskoi, “Gorbachev always had trouble restraining himself when people said such nasty things around him, and when they finally drove him to the wall, he went to the podium and threatened that if the Congress didn’t dissolve itself, it would be disbanded. That cooled the ire of some of the speakers, and the proposal for the council of heads of states went through without a hitch.” The Congress thus approved the Nazarbayev memorandum and dissolved itself, but not before getting a concession of sorts: while the superparliament would be gone, the Supreme Soviet, or regular USSR parliament, which had no right to amend the constitution, would stay in place. Gorbachev later expressed satisfaction with that decision. After all, it left him with one more Union institution to rely on in his battles with the republican leaders.

    The Congress completed its work on September 5. The next day Gorbachev convened the first meeting of the State Council, consisting of him and the republican leaders. “In the new reality,” remembered Yavlinsky, “Gorbachev was left with only one role: the unifier of the republics that were scattering.” One way or another, Gorbachev was back, performing a clearly diminished but still significant role that satisfied both the Russians and the leaders of the non-Russian republics for the time being. In late August one of those leaders, the Speaker of the Armenian parliament, Levon Ter-Petrosian, had explained the nature of the new arrangement in an interview with the Moscow weekly Argumenty i fakty: “If Rutskoi allows the reanimation of the center, then Gorbachev has a chance to stay. But for now Gorbachev is necessary as a stabilizing factor.”


    For the next month campaigning went on, as three referendums which would decide the future of the Soviet Union were to take place. The Belarusian Independence Referendum, the Ukrainian Independence Referendum and the Crimean Independence and Re-Admission Referendum. It was both a sober and happy day. The Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly to become independent, whilst Belarus and Crimea voted to stay. Despite the victories in Belarus and Crimea, Rutskoi and Gorbachev had to bow down to the inevitable. Gorbachev told Rutskoi that he would resign after the hypothetical Commonwealth of Independent States was inaugurated by ratification and signing.

    On 8 November 1991, the 10 republics of the Soviet Union signed the Minsk Accords in Minsk. The negotiations were haggling and tiresome, however the basic terms of the accords came to be as:-

    • The Independence of the Republic of Ukraine, Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkmenistan, Republic of Uzbekistan, Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Armenia to be signed and recognized.
    • The Union of Russia to be recognized as the legal successor to the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic.
    • Byelorussia and Crimea to join the Union of Russia on the basis of a confederal union.
    • The declaration of the ceasing of the existence of the Soviet Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States in its place.
    • A conference regarding the armed forces to take place on a later date in a new conference.

    The Russian flag being raised in the Kremlin on November 8, 1991, the date of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

    The Soviet Union had ceased to exist, but the Union of Russia had gained its independence with Aleksandr Rutskoi as its President. The Last Empire of Europe had fallen.

    Chapter 2: The Immediate Aftermath
  • Chapter 2: The Immediate Aftermath


    Chapter 17 of Russian Political History by Cambridge University

    On November 8, immediately after the Minsk protocols, President Alexander Rutskoy of the new Russian Union had to form a new government for the newly independent nation if he wanted to survive the inevitable economic and social rupture that would come from the end of the Soviet Union. He decided to form a national unity government composed of politicians from all spectrums of society in a bid to make sure that the country would be able to soften their fall from grace and power.


    Grigory Yavlinsky.

    As Ivan Silaev resigned as the last Soviet Prime Minister, the issue of the premiership within Russia reared its head. Rutskoy knew that the appointment of the prime minister would play an important role in the economic recovery of the nation decided to call upon someone unorthodox to become the Prime Minister of the Russian Union. Grigory Yavlinsky was in Lviv packing his bags and personal items to move back to Russia as per his Russian citizenship when he received a phone call that evening from Rutskoy himself. Yavlinsky remembers the astonishment in his memoirs completely and vividly. “I was packing my bags, looking after my land tenants, and moving the family when the phone rang. I picked it up, and was surprised to hear the gruff voice of President Rutskoy. He offered me in no certain terms the premiership of Russia. It obviously pained him to ask me, however the desperation of the new unenviable economic position had forced him to turn to me it seemed. I had no other choice. I had to accept.”

    Yavlinsky had under the Gorbachev and Yeltsin been an extremely important political figure, both as Department Head of the State Commission for Economic Reforms and as the government’s official economic advisor. He certainly had the reputation and experience for a premiership, and Rutskoy was obviously putting the need of the economy and the government first when he appointed Yavlinsky as Prime Minister of Russia despite his personal distaste of the economist. With the issue of the Prime Minister quickly resolved, on November 9, President Rutskoy submitted a list of potential candidate members for the cabinet to Anatoly Sobchack, the Vice President and Yavlinsky, the newly minted Prime Minister who was on his way back to Moscow via airplane. Most of the candidates were approved by the Vice President and Prime Minister for the National Unity Government, however Yavlinsky replaced Anatoly Chubais as the candidate for the Ministry of Economics and replaced him with Petr Aven, an old economic associate of Yavlinsky. With these measures taken into account, on November 10, Rutskoy formed a new governmental cabinet called the Yavlinsky I consisting of the following peoples:-

    • President: Alexander Rutskoy
    • Vice President: Anatoly Sobchack
    • Prime Minister: Grigory Yavlinsky
    • Deputy Prime Minister: Gennady Burbulis
    • Minister for Social Policy: Alexander Shokin
    • Minister for the Fuel and Energy Complex: Viktor Chernomyrain
    • Minister for Atomic Energy: Viktor Mikhailov
    • Minister of Security: Viktor Barranikov
    • Minister of the Interior: Viktor Yerin
    • Minister of Health: Andrey Vorobiov
    • Minister of Foreign Affairs: Andrei Kozyrev
    • Minister of Foreign Economic Relations: Anatoly Chubais
    • Minister of Culture: Yevgeny Sidorov
    • Minister of Science and Technology: Boris Saltykov
    • Minister of Defense: Yevgeny Shaposhnikov
    • Minister of Education: Eduard Dneprov
    • Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources: Viktor Danilov
    • Minister of Information: Mikhail Poltoranin
    • Minister of Railways: Gennady Fadev
    • Minister of Agriculture: Viktor Khlystun
    • Minister of Fuel and Energy: Vladimir Lopukin
    • Minister of Transportation: Vitaly Yefimov
    • Minister of Labour: Gennady Melyikan
    • Minister of Justice: Nikolay Fyodorov
    • Minister of Economics and Finance: Petr Aven
    The first and most important topic that the new government had to tackle was the growing economic problem after the fall of the Soviet Union. The economic institutions of the Soviet Union had been built without secession being the agenda, as it was assumed that the union would survive through any hurdle that would come forward. However, as we all know that did not happen. That meant that for example, Russian industries dependent on Kazakh raw materials were now forced to buy the raw materials they once got for free, creating a price crisis within the former Soviet Union. The Baltic States were probably the only post-Soviet countries who had managed to mitigate the economic crisis, and that too due to the fact that the Nordic countries and the European Union was aiding them through economic grants and direct economic supervision.

    Money supply through fraud also increased by 34% in the country and Russian money supply from overall means of supply grew by 18 times throughout the country. Inflation also ran rampant throughout the country, with average prices in the country already hiking all the way to 245% already. It was becoming clear to the new government that immediate economic measures would need to take place unless the government wanted to have an economic depression on their hands. A sharp decline in economic value had been anticipated by many after the fall of the Soviet Union, but the government would do anything to soften the economic blows.


    A flee market in Rostov.

    The three main economic actors of the new government were to be Prime Minister Grigory Yavlinsky, Minister for Foreign Economic Relations Anatoly Chubais and Minister of Economics and Finance Petr Aven. Both Aven and Yavlinsly were advocates of a Swedish and Finnish style social democracy and both of them outvoted Chubais regarding the issue of a shock therapy, which Yavlinsky and Aven both found to be unsuitable and irresponsible within the economic context of the newly independent Russian Union. Chubais himself had in 1989 been an advocate of social democratic economics within the Soviet Union before he had changed his tune, and as such it wasn’t hard for the other two economists to change the mind of the man. In coordination with the other members of the cabinet, both Yavlinsky and Aven decided to compile economic statistics to deem the best economic reform needed for the Russian state, and at the same time, Chubais was dispatched to America to the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund to secure a loan which would be used as a stimulus package by the Russian government.


    Petr Aven.

    On November 15, after five days of intensive economic data collection from throughout the country, Yavlinsky and Aven decided that a mixed economic model based on gradual privatization and social democratic models would be the best suited one for the Russian economy. Yavlinsky amended the 500 Days Program that he had earlier advocated, and amended the program to become a 750 days program. The 750 Days Program which was written down on November 15 and presented to the cabinet on November 20, 1991 was a complete break from existing views, academic concepts, and journalistic economic publications at the time with respect to the interpretation of society’s economic problems. It was the first real attempt in economics to circulate a new radical change in ethical assessment of social and economic phenomena. It was a complete program that predicted the main lines of dissolution in society and correctly pinpointed the crux of possible conflicts on the event of implementation of radical economic reforms such as labor conflicts and wage conflicts, breakdown of the welfare system and regional hurdles of economic development. As such it recommended the following measures to make sure that the economic damage to the country was dampened:-

    (i). Compression of wage differentials: Centralized wage bargaining was recommended so that it could lead to low wage dispersion in the labor market and hence lower pre-tax labor income inequality.
    (ii). Creative Destruction: Utilizing a high degree of compression of wage differentials, creative destruction would be fostered leading to a large share of highly productive enterprises, which in turn lead to a higher average labor productivity in the state.
    (iii). The usage of state capitalism to ensure a productive economy for the time being. The retention of many state owned companies to manage the exploitation of the country’s resources to create and maintain large number of jobs. The usage of sovereign wealth funds to invest extra cash in ways that maximize the country’s profit from the private sector.
    (iv) To incentivize foreign investment, the creation of a plan to pre-approve all investment up to 51% foreign equity participation, allowing foreign companies to bring modern technology and industrial development.
    (v). To partially dismantle public monopolies by floating shares of the public sector companies and limiting public sector growth to essential infrastructure, goods and services as well as mineral exploration and defense manufacturing.
    (vi). The creation of a balanced budget to get the fiscal deficit under control by temporarily curbing governmental expenses. Subsidies to the central Asian republics which were stopped after November 8 were to be collected and gathered in the budget to balance it against deficits. The artificially high rate of exchange for the Ruble was to be devalued from 5.3 to 7.1 rubles per dollar to 6 to 9.5 rubles per dollar in order to increase foreign currency reserves and print more money and stabilize the price crisis in the country.
    (vii). To stabilize the macroeconomic trends of the economy to make sure price control can be implemented once again in the Russian Union in a proper manner. The stabilization of the currency is to take place with a stimulus package and injection with aid from the International Monetary Fund and the above devaluation to create confidence in the ruble to make sure that supply bottlenecks aren’t created in the country. A realistic target for inflation to be created. The current inflation rate standing at 245% is to be reduced to 230% by March, 1992, to 200% by October 1992 and onwards after that.

    The cabinet approved of the economic plan put forward by the two economists and on November 24, the plan was given to the Russian Soviet of the Republic. The Soviet of the Republic which was a precursor to the Russian State Duma, passed the 750 Days Program with a total of 80 in favor of the plan, 36 in opposition to the program and around 10 deputies abstaining from voting during the deliberations. On November 26, it was declared official policy of the Russian government in regards to the economy.

    On November 29, the Russian government successfully managed to gain a $4.2 billion stimulus package from the International Monetary Fund, and negotiations to enter the IMF began between Moscow and Washington. The stimulus package was used to increase the economic stability of the ruble, as had been advised by Aven and Yavlinsky.


    Chapter 11 of Post-Soviet Drama: The Pandemonium of Nations

    The independence of the Soviet republics created an immediate problem throughout the former union. The question of the armed forces, the Security Council seat, the navy and most importantly the question of nuclear weapons. On November 18, the Ukrainian government contacted the Russian government and asked for moderation from the United States whilst managing the matters of the Security Council, and the nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union. Leonid Kravchuk, the new President of the Republic of Ukraine asked Rutskoy for a meeting in one of the western countries alongside Kazakhstan to end the nuclear question of the former Soviet Union once and for all. Nuclear dissemination had been one of the top policies made by Rutskoy’s government, and Rutskoy agreed to the invitation.

    On November 29, Leonid Kravchuk called the Russian government once again and told the Russians “I have spoken with the American government led by President Bush, and he has told me that with deliberation with the other members of NATO, the country of Portugal has agreed to hold a conference for the Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan in regards to the nuclear weapons that are residing within our soils. The British, French and Chinese governments have agreed to send delegations to confirm the legal successor of the Soviet Union in the United Nations Security Council. The conference will take place in Lisbon on December 26 and last until December 29.”

    Rutskoy gave power to Sobchak temporarily as his vice president as he left the country to meet with the delegations that would be sent to Lisbon to sign and negotiate a treaty regarding the armed forces of the Soviet Union. The signing of the protocol was taken place during the ongoing process of reorganization of the former Soviet Union into the Commonwealth of the Independent States and the creation of a monetary union between the members of the CIS.


    Flag of the CIS - Commonwealth of Independent States

    In Lisbon, Rutskoy met with Kravchuk and Nazarbayev, as the leaders of the three post-Soviet states which held nuclear weapons within their borders. The Americans had sent James Baker, the US Secretary of State as their delegation to the meeting. On the other hand, the Britain had sent Douglas Hurd, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and the French had sent Rouland Dumas, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Chinese had sent Tang Jiaxuan, the Chinese Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic respectively as their delegates for the meeting. Rutskoy was accompanied by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Kozyrev.

    The Russian government’s position was clear. It was the legal successor of the Soviet Union, and as the Russians had already taken up the post of the Soviet ambassador in the United Nations, the USSR’s seat in the Security Council, and the nuclear weapons would have to be given to Russia. The nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan and Ukraine were useless for any military action due to their launch codes being in Moscow, however the possibility of independent research into nuclear weapons was a topic that both powers of the USA and Russia wanted to avoid within the borders of Ukraine and Kazakhstan.


    James Baker.

    The Kazakh and Ukrainian governments wished to have some kind of power over Moscow in the era of independence, and at first both Kravchuk and Nazarbayev refused to hand over the nuclear weapons to Russia, whilst they agreed to recognize Russia as the legal successor to the Soviet Union, and as such take the Security Council seat. Baker would later write in his memoirs, “The tension was fractious. Rutskoy was obviously still angry at the breakup of the union, and the Kazakhs and Ukrainians believed that they held some sway over the Russian government due to their nuclear weapons. However in that situation, Mr. Hurd and Mr. Dumas clearly understood that Russia held the cards. In the situation of a last resort, the Russians could activate the launch codes of the nuclear weapons situated on Ukrainian and Kazakh soil, and detonate them, bringing a rain of destruction down on the newly independent states. Mr. Kozyrev, the Russian Foreign Minister would slap the reality of the situation onto President Kravchuk and President Nazarbayev when he pointed out the reality of the situation. He was a bit crude in the manner that he conveyed the meaning, however it got the point across.”

    Relations between the new independent states were already cold, as the conflicting personalities of the new leaders clashed against one another and the subtle threat of Russia irredentist claims in Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk, and in Kazakhstan, which was at the time Slavic majority was not spoken aloud, however it was understood by everyone present. The Kazakhs and Ukrainians would not be able to use the nuclear weapons they possessed to any meaningful amount if the Russians invaded, and the loyalty of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Kazakh Armed Forces, consisting of many ethnic Russians was also largely suspect in such a scenario. Kravchuk caved first, and agreed to return the nuclear weapons if he got a concession out of Russia regarding Ukrainian sovereignty. He demanded a perpetual Russian guarantee of Ukrainian territorial, diplomatic and political sovereignty. Rutskoy agreed to give this concession whilst the Kazakhs demanded the same. Rutskoy agreed to extend the offer to the Kazakhs as well.

    On December 28, 1991 the Lisbon Protocol was typed down by the parties present and laid down the following major points:-

    • Articles [1-3] introduced the situation that was present on the ground within the three countries, and laid out that the Ukrainians and Kazakhs would return the nuclear weapons they possessed to Russian control by the end of 1992.
    • Articles [4-5] also dealt with the fact that the Russians were now guaranteeing the political, territorial and diplomatic sovereignty of the Republic of Ukraine and Republic of Kazakhstan
    • Articles [5-8] confirmed the Union of Russia as the diplomatic and legal successor state to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, taking up their institutions in the United Nations and their seat in the Permanent Council of the Security Council.
    • Articles [9-10] confirmed that the Russian government would continue to adhere the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
    • Articles [11 – 15] dealt with the division of the Soviet Armed Forces on the basis of regional locations and the ethnic enlistments in the armed forces dependent on citizenship of the troops.
    The signatories of the Lisbon Protocols all agreed to have the protocol come into effect on March 31, 1992, and as the meeting ended, the head of states and foreign dignitaries all rushed home, to deal with the other unintended consequences of the fall of the Soviet Union.


    Chapter 16 of The Question of Transnistria and Gagauzia.

    Before the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, and the creation of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1940, Bessarabia had been a part of Romania after World War I and a part of the Russian Empire before that. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany which led to the Soviet annexation of Moldova was declared null and void by the Moldovan Supreme Soviet and they declared independence on the 27th of August 1991 like so many of the other republics within the Soviet Union. Before the creation of the Moldavian SSR, the territory that made up Transnistria was a part of Ukraine and only added to Moldova in 1940.

    During the last years of the 1980s, Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Glasnost allowed political pluralism at the regional level. In the Moldovan SSR, the nationalist movement became the leading political force as a result. As these movements exhibited increasingly nationalist sentiments and expressed an intent to leave the USSR and uniting with Romania, these movements encountered growing levels of opposition from the primarily Russian and Ukrainian ethnic minorities living in the Moldovan SSR. The opposition was extremely strong within the boundaries of Transnistria, where the ethnic Moldovan population was outnumbered by the general Slavic population, largely due to the history of Russian and Ukrainian settlement in the region, with links going as far back as the Russian Empire and continued under the Soviet Union.

    On 31 August 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR enacted two laws. One of them made Moldovan the official language, in lieu of Russian, the de facto official language of the Soviet Union. It also mentioned a linguistic Moldo-Romanian identity. The second law stipulated the return to the Latin Romanian alphabet instead of the soviet introduced Cyrillic script. Moldovan language was the term used in the former Soviet Union for a virtually identical dialect of the Romanian language during 1940–1989. On 27 April 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Moldavian SSR adopted the traditional tricolour (blue, yellow and red) flag with the Moldavian coat of arms and later changed in 1991 the national anthem to Deșteaptă-te, române!, the national anthem of Romania since 1990. Later in 1990, the words Soviet and Socialist were dropped and the name of the country was changed to "Republic of Moldova".


    The flag of Transnistria.

    These events, coupled with the opening of the Moldovan-Romanian border led many in Transnistria to believe that political union between Moldova and Romania was inevitable. This possibility created ethnic fears in the Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Bulgarian community in Transnistria that they would be excluded from most aspects of public life as had been the case in the Baltic countries where their ethnic Russian and Slavic populations were becoming increasingly sidelined. From September 1989, strong scenes of protest broke out all across the Moldovan Republic, but mostly in Transnistria, against the central government’s ethno-centrist policies. These protests soon developed into the formation of secessionist movements in Gagauzia and Transnistria, both of whom had initially sought to remain as autonomous regions in Moldova, however the nationalist dominated Moldovan Supreme Soviet outlawed the initiatives presented by the Transnistrians and Gagauzians. After this, the Gagauz Republic and the Republic of Transnistria declared their independence from Moldova and announced their intention to be reattached to the Soviet Union as independent federal republics.

    In the aftermath of the 1991 August Coup in the Soviet Union, the Moldovans achieved full independence, and in Tiraspol, the Transnistrian government decided to conduct a full independence referendum. On November 6, Igor Smirnov, the leader of the Transnistrian independence movement, declared that an independence referendum would be held by the Transnistrian government on the 6th of December, 1991. He also mandated a legislation that made it necessary for all able voters to attend the referendum if they were in the (unrecognized) country.


    Igor Smirnov of Transnistria.

    Smirnov sent invitations to the Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, American, British and French governments to send supervisors to the referendum to make the referendum result’s legitimate, as he was sure that the secessionists would win. The Russians and Ukrainians agreed to send delegations to the referendum as supervisors, whilst the rest declined, as the western powers and the newly independent Romanian and Hungarian governments did not wish to alienate the Moldovan government, with whom they were trying to cultivate good relations with. President Rutskoy himself was a supporter of Transnistrian and Gagauz independence, and asked the Russian Supreme Soviet to write a legislation in favor of the two gaining full sovereignty. The Ukrainians and Leonid Kravchuk also tacitly supported the two secessionist movements.


    On December 6 the referendum took place, and around 97.81% of all correspondents voted in favor of independence. Even much of the ethnic Moldovan populace of Transnistria voted in favor of independence. Alexander Cooper, a British reporter who worked for the BBC in Moldova during this time remembers, “The Moldovans in the region were perhaps just as fanatic about independence. The Moldovans of the region may have spoken Romanian-Moldovan, however they had lived in an ethnically diverse region, and many were related to the Russians and Ukrainians of the region who would be adversely affected by political union with Romania. As a result, familial loyalty played a large role in making even the ethnic Moldovans vote in favor of independence. There is no doubt that the referendum was rigged by Smirnov, however even a free and fair referendum would have ended in favor of independence. Of that there is no doubt either.”

    In the Gagauz Republic, their new President, Stepan Topal was insistent that he would use democratic means of gaining independence, and stated that a referendum would be held on January 17, 1992, and asked the United Nations to intervene and send representatives to supervise the referendum whilst he sent invitations to all of the Commonwealth of Independent States as well. Topal would not receive UN representatives, however Russian and Romanian meddling in Moldova would ensure that he held the referendum in the end, regardless of the lack of representatives of the international organizations.


    Chapter 6 of The Battle for Dominance in Post-Soviet Caucasus.

    In 1991, Chechnya declared its independence from Russia on a unilateral basis. This immediately provoked Russian response, as was expected. Chechnya is situated in the northeast region of the Caucasus. To the east, north, and west, the republic borders with the Russian regions of Dagestan, Stavropol’ krai, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia; to the south, it borders with Georgia. Its territory encompasses 15,678 km. About one-third of the territory is in the plains north of the Terek River, which crosses Chechnya west to east. The southern part of Chechnya, covering another one-third of the total territory, is mountainous—the highest mountains are over 4,000 m high—and poorly accessible. The capital, Grozny, was founded in 1812 as a military outpost of Russian colonialism in the North Caucasus and aptly named “the threatening.” It and the other larger settlements—Gudermes, Shali, and Urus-Martan—all lie in the middle part of Chechnya, between the mountains in the south and the Terek Plains in the north. Most of the intensive fighting took place here; rebels used the mountains in the south as their safe retreat and as a lifeline for military supplies. A large part of the military supplies was brought over mountain paths from Georgia, Dagestan, and Ingushetia.

    The available demographic data for prewar Chechnya are not very precise. The reason for this is that, until 1991, Chechnya, together with the much smaller Ingushetia, constituted the Chechen-Ingushetian ASSR. All data from the Soviet Census of 1989 thus relate to the Chechen-Ingushetian ASSR. Extrapolating from the data in the Soviet Census, it can be estimated that, in 1991, the population of Chechnya proper was around 836,000, of which about 700,000 were ethnic Chechens and the rest were predominantly ethnic Russians.

    Despite the particularly ferocious attempts at Sovietization, Chechen society, perhaps more than other Caucasian societies, has proved itself to be particularly resistant. In key areas, such as law and justice, loyalty and solidarity, and religion and identity, traditional forms of local organization were preserved. Older Chechens relate that, after the Stalin era, no Chechen was ever brought before a Soviet court of law charged with a serious crime. Instead, the law was administered according to the traditional legal canon, the adat, and enforced by the clans. Such tales may be exaggerated, but they highlight the extent to which traditional ideas about law, as well as traditional procedures for its enforcement, were preserved during Soviet times. Islam, the source of much of customary law called adat, also resisted Soviet atheist campaigns. Adherence to Islam remained an important part of Chechen cultural identity, even if the open practising of religion was not possible in the Soviet Union. The considerable resistance of Chechen society toward Soviet institutions and Soviet culture brought about the parallel existence of two normative systems. This strange juxtaposition of contrasting, often mutually exclusive, norms and procedures, present in all Soviet societies, was particularly prominent in Chechnya. The fact that, to a large extent, the Chechens were sidelined in terms of opportunities in the Soviet Union, made the system even more entrenched. In the Soviet Union, it was difficult to have a career as a Chechen. Even within their “own” republic, key political and economic positions were by and large beyond the reach of Chechens. This was in contrast to other ethnic republics, in which representatives of the titular nation had good career chances up to a certain point. For this reason, the emergence of a Chechen-Soviet elite took place very slowly. Thus, after 1991, a class of decision-makers, who were able to stabilize the political situation and ensure a relatively conflict-free transition in many Union republics and autonomous territories, was lacking in Chechnya.


    Dhzokar Dudayev.

    In November 1990, an All-National Congress of the Chechen People was convened in Grozny. There, 1,000 delegates, each representing 1,000 Chechens living in the Soviet Union, met to debate the cultural and national concerns of the Chechen people, its future, and its past. This was an unprecedented event, made possible by the spirit of glasnost and perestroika that had led to national mobilization throughout most capitals and most borderlands of the Soviet empire. Among the congress’ many guests of honor was one Dzokhar Dudayev, at the time commander of a division of strategic bombers stationed in Estonia. Dudayev was the first Chechen to reach the rank of a general in Soviet history. The high-ranking guest lent a shine to the proceedings—a career in the Soviet army in Chechnya. Dudayev was basically a foreigner to his own land. He was born in Kazakhstan, like almost all of his generation, and made his career in Russia. He was married to a Russian woman and spoke better Russian than Chechen. Nevertheless, and to the surprise of many, the congress voted the high-ranking foreigner in as chairman of the executive committee of the All-National Congress of the Chechen People. Whether this was because Dudayev, as an outsider, was not caught up in the rivalries between local factions or whether his high military rank inspired the delegates, the first national leader of the Chechens in post-Soviet times turned out to be a Soviet Air Force general. Dudayev wholeheartedly embraced his new political career, but it proved to be a short one, with a disastrous end for himself and with most dire consequences for his people. After the 1991 – 1993 Chechen War, when his son was killed in a Russian airstrike.


    Flag of the separatist Chechen Republic.

    In early September, Dudayev, with a handful of armed retainers, enforced the “self-dissolution” of the now completely powerless Supreme Soviet after the August coup. Power in Chechnya had now in actual fact shifted to the executive committee of the National Congress. The Chechen revolution dismantled all Soviet political institutions more quickly and more thoroughly than did all other national independence movements of the Soviet Union, in part because the institutions of Soviet power had only superficially penetrated Chechen society. Subsequently, however, it was this institutional tabula rasa that rendered the consolidation of the new state impossible.

    On November 8, 1991, President Rutskoy declared a state of emergency in Chechnya, which, was then passed by the Russian Supreme Soviet on November 11. On the same day, Russian airborne troops tried unsuccessfully to set foot in Grozny airport, which was blocked by Chechen fighters. The contingent returned to the barracks, and Dudayev held the election and was elected president with 90 percent of the vote. His first decree proclaimed the independence of Chechnya. His newly elected parliament granted him all powers necessary to defend the sovereignty and independence of Chechnya. On November 27, Dudayev contacted Moscow and asked for a peaceful independence for Chechnya. Rutskoy refused to allow Chechnya go independent and so did the Russian Supreme Soviet.

    Nonetheless, a ceasefire to make sure that the current exodus of Ukrainians and Russians from Chechnya took place in an orderly format, Rutskoy agreed to not invade Chechnya until the 20th of December, 1991. On that day, around 40,000 Russian troops of the 40th Army entered Chechnya. Though the Russians would win the Chechen War, the failures of the army would prompt the 1995 – 1998 Army Reforms of the Russian Army.

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    Chapter 3: This War is My War!
  • Chapter 3: This War is My War!


    Chapter 26 of The War in Chechnya: The People Denied Their Freedom by George MacLeod

    On January 3, 1992, the Russian government convened a session in Moscow, to deal with the Chechen separatists once and for all. Many in the government asked for restraint from the Russian military since the Russian government was backing Gagauzian and Transnistrian independence, and committing such heavy-handed moves against the Chechens would be hypocritical of Russia on the international world stage. However, the Russian cabinet led by Alexander Rutskoy was not in a mood to lose more land and people than what was absolutely necessary and Chechnya was an integral part of Russia, as it lay on the important mineral mines and oil pipelines of the Russian Northern Caucasus, losing which would see Russia lose billions in monetary resources. Something, considering the state of the Russian economy at the time, was simply not acceptable.

    Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, the Minister of Defense told the cabinet that the 40th Guard Army under the command of Major General Alexander Lebed would be seeking to capture Grozny as fast as possible and capture the city and major holdouts of the Chechen separatists. Capturing Grozny would force the Separatists into the middle to low-level intensity warfare against the Russian state which would be far more sustainable for the Russian economy monetarily wise. Despite the pleas of Foreign Minister Kozyrev who was not willing to make such diplomatic blunders, the Russian President gave the go-ahead for the plan to have the 40,000 men, 300 tanks and 720 AFVs enter Chechnya under the command of General Lebed.

    On January 4, Lebed began Operation Golovin, named after one of the more famous Russian Generals from the 19th century who had led the Russian conquest of the Caucasus. The 40,000 troops of the Russian 40th Guard Army was divided into 2 divisions, the 87th Motor Rifle Division and the 88th Armored Division and the two divisions were both moving in from different sides of Chechnya. At first, the resistance of the Chechens north of the Terek River was non-existent as the areas were clogged up with ethnic Ukrainian and Russians still trying to flee the area as conflict seemed likely. However the Russian forces soon encountered massive resistance in and around of the crossing area of the Terek River, where the 87th Motor Rifle Division came under heavy artillery and gunfire from Chechen militia across the river. Lebed called in for a massive artillery barrage and aerial bombardment to dislodge the enemy Chechens who were entrenched on the other side of the river led by popular general and guerilla fighter Shamil Basayev.

    The aerial bombardment led by three squadrons of Mig-29s managed to dislodge the Chechens with their missile attacks, and the Russians crossed the Terek River, officially starting the Battle of Grozny, the only real conventional battle of the entirety of the Chechen War. The Russian troops began to enter the city. General Lebed in his memoirs writes, “And then all hell was let loose. The artillery corps stood silent before they launched shells after shells at the Chechen positions, and the air was rife with bombardment from the air. The GRU and Spetznaz hurled themselves at the enemies and fought them first with first at times, and blood ran red like that of a river in the outskirts of the city. Grozny……..What a terrible fate it was for over 1200 soldiers, and around 4000 Chechens……”

    The Russian armored columns invaded Grozny on January 8 and using blunt firepower, the armored columns consisting of T-80s and T-72s entered the city. However all armored and mechanized units were under staffed and under trained. As such on one occasion an anti-Air unit, whose anti-air batteries were being used to mow down Chechen militias opened fire on mistake to a squadron of Su-27s over the city resulting in the loss of 1 Su-27 through friendly fire. The conscripts had thought that the Chechens had somehow gotten their hands on a squadrons of warplanes and were utilizing them against their attack.

    Meanwhile the Chechen command followed through with their plan and concentrated most of their regular forces against the Russian main assault force commanded by Brigadier General Anatoly Kvashin. Kvashin commanded the 88th Armored Division’s 131st Mechanized Brigade. The first casualty for the Russians was a single T-80 tank that was blown up along Pervomaiskaya Street as the Tanks and armored columns entered the city. The barrage of RPG fire from hidden militiamen destroyed the tank. Small fire attack from hidden militiamen from inside the walls of the buildings saw one of the reconnaissance vehicles disabled.


    Pervomaiskaya Street after the Battle of Grozny

    A group of 7 AFVs in front of Pervomaiskaya School on the street were attacked by a cadre of RPG soldiers, and destroyed the Russian AFVs, resulting in the deaths of 38 servicemen immediately as their vehicles blew apart in front of them. As a new reconnaissance platoon retreated into the column, the troopers were confused because they were followed by what seemed to be a Russian army truck, and they were hesitant to open fire on the truck. However by the time the soldiers decided to fire on the suspicious truck following them, the truck had sped ahead into their midst, and a huge detonation took place indicating that it was a suicide truck bomb.

    At 2 pm, January 8, 1992, Lebed decided to stop the offensive into the city due to mounting losses, and instead told the men to settle in for a slog, telling them to entrench themselves in the fight. A Russian conscript of the battle, Alexei Yevgeny described to me the neo-trench war that the Russians fought on Pervomaiskaya street.

    Everywhere we looked fire and destruction reigned supreme as we hid behind hastily built defenses and shot back. The artillery and planes could not aid us so deep inside the city and all that we could do was to fire back every time we were attacked. By the 13th of January both of us were exhausted beyond our limits, and my sector, having eaten nothing but biscuits to sustain ourselves, found ourselves becoming increasingly lethargic. Finally a T-72 squadron arrived on the 14th and drove the Chechens away from the street. When it was announced to us that the street had been cleared, all of slumped down in relief, hoping to never see a firefight ever again in our lives.”

    After the main street had fallen, the Russians waited for special operation troops of the GRU and Spetznaz to disperse into the city as the Rebels were culled one by one. Every block had to be fought for, however by January 16, the Battle of Grozny was effectively over, and ended in Russian victory. Dudayev and other Chechen leaders such Busayev were forced into an underground guerilla war and the Russians exerted control over the cities in Chechnya. However the battle had been costly. Around 1,200 Russian servicemen were killed in the ferocious battle, and around ~4,200 Chechens were killed in the battle as well. An unknown amount of troops on both sides were wounded as well.


    Red lines depict Russian army movement whilst blue lines depict Russian Airforce movement for the Battle of Grozny

    Despite the victory in the Battle of Grozny however, an intense guerilla war continued and the Chechen War did not end with the fall of Grozny as many hoped. The Chechen War was only getting started.


    From Chapter 12 of The Purple Restoration: How the Fall of Communism Restored 5 Monarchies

    The Russian government ever since the 1987 reforms had been finding one new headache one after the other regarding the question of a monarchy. The question of monarchism had always been strong in Russia, even among many communists, though the left tended towards Christian communism when talking about the monarchy and as a result, the Soviet Government did not allow Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia to enter Russian territory on April 18, 1988, when he formally asked permission to do so. Gorbachev had been extremely scared about the probability of a pro-monarchist democratic movement in Russia who would be united under the banner of the old Grand Duke, and as a result, despite the democratization of the Soviet Union, the old Grand Duke wasn’t allowed to enter Russian territory. It had also helped the old Duke’s repute that he had been against communism but also had been against the Nazis in World War 2. During the war, he had made a comment against the Soviets, at first seemingly supporting the German invasion, however as soon as the worst excesses of the Germans had been leaked the man had withdrawn his support, and had found himself locked up in a Concentration Camp due to that. Many anti-communists in the USSR as a result sympathized with the old duke, and arguments from the CPSU led him to stay outside of Russian borders. However after the August Coup, on August 30, 1991, he was finally given permission return to Russian soil after 73 years of exile.


    The Grand Duke.

    In November 21, he returned to Russia amidst a great crowd [1] and was greeted personally by Vice-President Anatoly Sobchack in St. Petersburg where he toured the city and met with prominent Russian politicians, including President Rutskoy, Prime Minister Yavlinsky etc. There, he was bluntly asked by Rutskoy, who was never known for his subtlety regarding the question of restoration.

    He was blunt and extremely so, especially when the fact registers that he was speaking with a man who had grown up during times when orderly conduct was supreme.” Sobchack writes in his memoirs. “The President simply asked the Grand Duke whether or not he had any intentions to restoring the Russian monarchy, alluding the fact that many Russian citizens at the airport had cried out ‘We Want the Czar’ when he had arrived. The Grand Duke seemed mildly offended by the blunt question but regained his senses and said that while he wouldn’t be opposed to the idea, he would not force it through either. President Rutskoy’s regime was extremely unpopular, as many believed that he had been the one to lose the union between Russia and Ukraine, unalienable since 1643. It was at that moment that we understood, as in me and Mr. Yavlinsky, that Rutskoy was subtly asking if a restoration of the monarchy was possible with the old Duke.”

    The monarchy, as the Russians desperately tried to solve their economic problems, came to the highlight once again. Under Yavlinsky, the government was conducting needed economic reforms, however Rutskoy’s stubbornness and anti-Yavlinsky streaks led to severe hampering of the implementation of the reforms at some times, which led many to contemplate the idea of a return to monarchism. Soviet Era Jokes such as ‘An Old Woman asks her granddaughter, “Granddaughter, please explain communism to me. How do people live under it? They probably teach you all about it in school!” “Of course granny. When we reach communism, the shops will be full – there will be butter, meat and sausage……you will be able to go and buy anything you want….” “Ah!” exclaimed the old woman joyfully “Just like under the Tsar!”’ ran rampant in Russian society, especially with the failures of communism being so recent and the Communist Party of Russia effectively disbanded by Gorbachev.

    Several high profile members of Russian society such as Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow, Zhanna Bichevskaya the popular singer, Nikita Mikhailov, the popular film producer, Alexander Krutov the popular Russian journalist and Soviet Dissident, Andrey Savelyev, popular Muscovite Deputy, Boris Nemtsov, popular governor of Novgorod, all supported the idea of restoring the monarchy. However, whilst an American poll conducted in January to February, 1992 found that around 54% of Russians would be in favor of restoring the monarchy, with 38% opposed, and 8% unsure, [2], the real question came in regards to succession. Grand Duke Vladimir had not followed Romanov dynasty rules when he married a princess from a ‘lesser’ aristocratic family, through an allegedly morganatic marriage, and his daughter would thus not be eligible for any restoration of the throne, the rest of the dynasty argued. Coupled with the morganatic marriage and the Pauline Laws which forbid a female monarch in Russia, the question of succession to Grand Duke Vladimir opened up schisms in the Russian political spectrum.


    Boris Nemtsov was the fiercest proponent of a limited monarchical restoration in Russia.

    On January 27, the Russian Grand Duke received a Russian passport, and Rutskoy, who was beginning to be called the ‘Cheap Yeltsin Imitator’ by many in Russia, began to tacitly support the idea of a restored Russian monarchy, in order to shore up support from the rest of the Russian conservative and anti-communist spectrum. Grand Duke Vladimir opposed this however, and a letter from the man to Prime Minister Yavlinsky dated to February 27, 1992, reads,

    ……..Therefore, I thank the government for their restoration of Yaroslav Mansion for my family. On the subject of the prior monarchical institutions of 1917 and their restoration, I must protest at President Rutskoy’s heavy handed manner in supporting such a restoration. Prime Minister Yavlinsky, both you and I know that Russia right now needs economic stability, and that should be the focus of the country rather than silly political debates. Let the issue of the monarchy and aristocracy be decided by the people…….

    The question of restoring the monarchy would rear its terrible head multiple times in Russian political history in the 1990s, and it would only be the Albanian and Romanian restorations that would seriously make the proposal an important event once more.


    Chapter 12 of the Moldavian War

    By January 1992, the Moldavian government under the leadership of Mircea Snegur had managed to recruit 30,000 soldiers into the Armed Forces of Moldavia, intending to fight against the separatist regions of Gagauzia and Transnistria. The trigger came on January 19, when the results of the January 17 Gagauz Independence Referendum became known. With a turnout of around 87%, 71% of the populace had voted in favor of independence and separation from the Republic of Moldova.

    Snegur declared this referendum illegitimate whilst the Ukrainian and Russian governments supported the referendum and recognized its results. In addition to recruiting troops and inheriting Soviet weaponry, Moldova also obtained arms and weapons from Romania. Romania also sent military advisors and volunteers during the beginning stages of the conflict. The 14th Guards Army of Russia, which was based in and around Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria, commanded by General Yuri Netkachev was the effective counter to the Moldovan military threat, and the Transnistrian Armed Forces also recruited some 10,000 men to their forces amplifying the defense of the region.


    Stepan Topal declaring the independence of Gagauzia.

    At the same time, the Gagauz Republic had formed the Armed Forces of Gagauzia, and had recruited and armed 20,000 men to fight against what was considered to be an inevitable war between Moldova and Gagauzia. Stepan Topal, the President of Gagauzia gave a speech in Comrat, the capital of the new republic, stating, “I like many of us here believe, that an amicable divorce is needed. Just because the Gagauz people want independence, that doesn’t mean that we are anti-Moldovan and we wish to retain the good relations that the Gagauz people and Moldovan peoples have shared ever since 1812. However if war is the answer that Mr. Snegur has turned to, then war it is that he will be receiving.”

    On January 28, 1992, the Moldavian War broke out as Moldovan troops enter Gagauz and Transnistrian territory.

    The first area of military action was on the eastern shore of the Dniester river, from north to south, the villages of Molovata Nouă, Cocieri (approx 6,000 inhabitants), Corjova and the city of Dubăsari (approx 30,000 inhabitants), together forming a contiguous mainly inhabited area 10–12 km along the shore. The only connection to the western bank from the three villages is either a ferry, or two bridges in Dubăsari in and around Transnistria as the Transnistrians and Moldovans opened fire at one another.

    In response, the Cossacks who came from Rostov-on-Don to support the PMR (Transnistrian Forces) side stormed the police precinct in Dubăsari during the night. Moldovan policemen loyal to Chișinău from the Dubăsari raion (district), instead of returning to work in the occupied precinct in Dubăsari, now a milice precinct, gathered in Cocieri.

    On 2 February 1992, locals from Cocieri, after hearing about the situation in Dubăsari, broke into the small local arms depot to arm themselves against the PMR side. Three locals (Alexandru Luchianov from Cocieri, Alexandru Gazea from Molovata and Mihai Nour from Roghi) were killed, but the military unit from Cocieri was defeated by the Moldovans. The officers and their families were forced to leave the village. More policemen were ferried the following days from the western bank of the Dniester. They organized a defense line around the three villages, while PMR forces retained control of Dubăsari. In the following weeks both PMR and Moldovan forces amassed large numbers in the area and fought a trench war, with intermittent ceasefires.


    Gagauz Paramilitary men.

    The Moldovans also entered Gagauzia, and on February 13, the Battle of Gura-Galbenei broke out as 3,000 Moldovan troops supported by 68 Romanian volunteers attacked around 2,000 entrenched Gagauz militiamen in and around the small town of Gura-Galbenei. The Gagauz were attacked and they defended ferociously, using hit and run tactics to wear the Moldovans down and they also received constant supplies from Comrat on behalf of their government.

    Leonid Kravchuk, the Ukrainian President held an emergency meeting with President Rutskoy on February 15, during the Battle of Gura-Galbenei when he asked the president on whether or not the Russians would support the Gagauz. “Mr. President, both you and I know that neither of our countries want the Romanians on our doorstep and the Transnistrian and Gagauz cause is similar to the cause of Kiev and Moscow. Will you support the Gagauz people in their bid for independence? Whether or not Russia intercedes, Ukraine will have to.”

    Rutskoy answered that Russia would support the Gagauz populace, and on February 16, the dispatch of supplies to Transnistria and Gagauzia was legalized. Ukraine aided the sending of supplies as well, and added their own increasing the amount of supplies that the Transnistrians had with them alongside the Gagauz. The Gagauz troops defeated the Moldovans on February 19, when the Gagauz used captured anti-air batteries to destroy Moldovan bridgeheads into their country.

    On February 27, 1992, Ukraine and Russia interceded in the Moldovan War, and the Ceasefire of Odessa was signed between Moldova, Ukraine and Russia. The official document was signed by President Rutskoy, President Snegur and President Kravchuk and established the Joint Control Commission with 3 Russian Battalions, 2 Ukrainian and Moldovan Battalions, 1 Transnistrian/Gagauz Battalion to oversee the military neutrality of the borders of Moldova, Gagauzia and Transnistria.

    It is estimated that around 2800 people lost their lives in the Moldovan War, with the number of the wounded reaching 8000. A high number for sure, but unlike other post-Soviet wars and conflicts, the Moldovans had a largely low amount of internally displaced persons. The short 1 month long Moldovan War would end in a frozen conflict as Gagauzia and Transnistria won de-facto independence though de-jure they were still a part of Moldova.


    From British Electoral Politics: Post Cold-War

    The Conservatives had been elected by a landslide in the 1987 General Elections under the leadership of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, but her popularity sharply declined by 1989 and 1990 due to the Early 1990s Recession and the Internal divisions within her own party as well as the highly unpopular Poll Tax. Labour began to lead the conservatives in the polls once again however the resignation of Thatcher in 1990 and the ascension of John Major as Prime Minister saw the lead from the Labour Party stifled. As 1992 dawned, the recession had deepened and the election loomed, and most opinion polls suggested that the Labour party were the favorites to win the election, although their lead in the polls had shortened. On 11 March, Major called for the new elections to take place On the 9th of April.

    The 50th parliament of the United Kingdom sat last on Monday 16 March, being dissolved on the same day. Under the leadership of Neil Kinnock the Labour party had undergone further developments and alterations since its 1987 election defeat. Labour entered the campaign confident, with most opinion polls showing a slight Labour lead that if maintained suggested a hung parliament, with no single party having an overall majority, which would give way to political coalitions within the House of Commons.

    The parties campaigned on the familiar grounds of taxation and health care. Major became known for delivering his speeches while standing on an upturned soapbox during public meetings. Immigration was also an issue, with Home Secretary Kenneth Baker making a controversial speech stating that, under Labour, the floodgates would be opened for immigrants from developing countries. Some speculated that this was a bid by the Conservatives to shore up its support amongst its white working-class supporters. The Conservatives also pounded the Labour Party over the issue of taxation, producing a memorable poster entitled "Labour's Double-Whammy", showing a boxer wearing gloves marked "tax rises" and "inflation".

    An early setback for Labour came in the form of the "War of Jennifer's Ear" controversy, which questioned the truthfulness of a Labour party election broadcast concerning National Health Service (NHS) waiting lists.

    Labour seemingly recovered from the NHS controversy, and opinion polls on 1 April (dubbed "Red Wednesday") showed a clear Labour lead. But the lead fell considerably in the following day's polls. Observers blamed the decline on the Labour Party's triumphalist "Sheffield Rally", an enthusiastic American-style political convention at the Sheffield Arena, where Neil Kinnock famously cried out "We're all right!" three times. However some analysts and participants in the campaign believed it actually had little effect, with the event only receiving widespread attention after the election.

    This was the first general election for the newly formed Liberal Democrats, a party formed by the formal merger of the SDP-Liberal Alliance. Its formation had not been without its problems, but under the strong leadership of Paddy Ashdown, who proved to be a likeable and candid figure, the party went into the election ready. They focused on education throughout the campaign, as well as a promise on reforming the voting system.


    The weather was largely dull for most of the campaign but sunny conditions on 9 April may have been a factor in the high turnout. The turnout of the elections was around 77%, the highest turnout in any British election since 1974, and there was an overall Labour swing of around 2.2% to 3.6%. The Conservatives won a massive amount of popular vote and won 14 million votes for which they won 337 seats in the Parliament receiving overall majority, though reduced than before. The Labour Party managed to win 271 seats as well, receiving nearly 12 million votes in the election as well. The First Past the Post system of British politics ensured that the Liberal Democrats despite their high amount of votes (~6 million) only won 28 seats, however it was still a victory as the Liberal Democrats received 6 extra seats in Parliament. Among the minor parties, the Scottish Nationalist Party won 3 seats in Scotland, and failed to meet their goal of a major plurality in the Scottish designated seats. The Ulster Unionist Party won the overall majority of Northern Irish Seats with the Social Democratic Labour Party and Democratic Unionist Party trailing behind. The Welsh nationalists under Plaid Cymru saw no seat gained either. Sinn Fein lost their only seat on parliament to Joe Hendrom of the Social Democratic and Labour Party as well.

    Major’s second premiership would be an unstable one, despite his moderate views and the largely favorable views the public held towards him, as the Maastricht Treaty Referendums throughout Europe loomed.


    Chapter 29 of Post-Soviet Russian Politics

    On March 12, 1992, the Russian cabinet and the Supreme Soviet of Russia finally voted in the legislation required to change the legislative assembly of Russia. The Supreme Soviet of Russia was abolished and the Russian State Duma was re-established as the Lower Legislative Chamber and the Russian State Council was re-established as the Higher Legislative Chamber. It was determined that the State Duma would have 575 members and the State Council would have 175 members.

    The question of the electoral political system however arose within the Russian Parliament, and it was decided that a constitutional referendum would be held within the Russian Union to determine the electoral system of the Russian government for elections to the Duma. Two system – Parallel voting and Mixed-Member Proportional System were proposed.

    Under Parallel voting, which is a semi-proportional representation system, a portion of the seats in the legislature are filled by pluralities in single member constituencies. The remainder are filled with party lists, with party often needing to have polled a certain quota, typically a small percentile, in order to achieve representation.

    In Mixed-Member Proportional System, the voter can cast two votes, one for a constituency representative and one for a party. Voters can thus vote for the local person they prefer as the constituent representative regardless of political affiliation, since the partisan makeup of the legislature is made up of the party vote. The constituent winners would be chosen using the first past the post system and the party regional lists would be determined by the use of closed party lists.

    There was also the question of whether the presidential republic would be kept or a parliamentary republic would be implemented. Many in the new State Duma favored a parliamentary republic [3] whilst most in the governmental cabinet favored a presidential republic. It was thus decided that the Russian government would hold a referendum on July 25, 1992 to decide the course of the future Russian governments. The Referendum would be a two-point referendum, with the first regarding the electoral system and the second regarding the question of a parliamentary or presidential republic.

    The government also announced that the first independent Russian Legislative Elections would take place on February, 1993, with the electoral time duration being 5 years for the Duma period to expire.

    At the same time, the first real Russian political parties started to form. The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia was founded on April 9, 1992 as the direct successor of the Liberal Democratic Party of the Soviet Union. Largely attacked by many for its leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky and his ultra-nationalist views, the party was and is believed to an artificial creation of the CPSU and the KGB during the ending years of the Soviet Union, with the aim of channeling opposition votes. On its creation, KGB General Philip Bobkov was reportedly extremely happy calling it ‘In line with Zubatov’s Ideals’. Vice President Anatoly Sobchack also claimed that the party was created on the orders of the KGB and that Zhirinovsky was a reserve KGB captain. Nonetheless, founding itself on ideals of Russian ultra-nationalism, right wing populism, social conservatism and statism, it was a mildly powerful political party during the 1990s.

    With the suspension of the Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, most members of the party resigned and together with other trade unionists and worker unions of the country formed the National Salvation Front, a political party under the leadership of Gennady Zyuganov and Albert Makashov. It was rebranded as a left-wing nationalist pro-socialist political party. Much like several nationalist parties in Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, the National Salvation Front depicted itself as a left-wing nationalist party in favor of Russian nationalism, which they branded patriotism.

    The Party of Russian Unity and Accord was formed on February 17, 1992 by Sergey Shahkhray. This party broadly referred to simply as the Accord Party is a moderate liberal party, founded on the basis of liberal conservatism, regionalism, federalism and reformism. Shahkhray called the party the ideal opposition party due to its moderate stances.

    The fourth major party was formed on February 28, 1992 by Prime Minister Yavlinsky, Minister of Economics, Petr Aven and economist Yury Boldyrev and diplomat Vladimir Lukin was the Russian Social Democratic Party, which was founded on the basis of social democratic, feminist, democratic socialist, and progressivism. This party in particular, alongside the Accord Party would dominate Russian politics for many years to come.

    The last major party to be formed was the Russian Ecological Party by Victor Ivanovich Danolov-Danilyan, with its basis in green politics, environmentalism and centrism, with a faction within the party advocating agrarianism and agrarian socialism.

    A debate regarding the flag arose as well, as most nationalists deemed the tricolour too close to the Russian Provisional Government and the Russian Empire, which had fallen under the influence of the Communists easily. They wanted a new start and with it a new flag. On April 16, it was declared that three new Flags would be proposed and that the 2-point referendum would become a 3-point referendum regarding the flag as well.


    The three contenders to the Russian flag
    (Disclaimer: These flags aren't mine and are taken from Google, reddit and deviantart and wikipedia).



    [1] – otl, when Vladimir returned, around 18,000 people came to greet him in the airport, and an unknown amount outside the airport

    [2] – otl Gallup poll from 1992. See Russian Politics and Society by Richard Sakwa for more information.

    [3] – Yeltsin basically vetoed the question of creating a referendum for a parliamentary or presidential republic otl. Rutskoy ittl doesn’t.
    Chapter 4: The Caucasian Mountains are a right mess!
  • Chapter 4: The Caucasian Mountains are a right mess!


    Chapter 17 of the Chechen War for Independence: How Russia brought Chechnya into Line

    After the Battle of Grozny conventional warfare and conventional fighting against the Russians on part of the Chechens largely died out. They couldn’t fight a conventional war against the Russian state when it was clear which side had the manpower, aerial, and material superiority, and it was not the Chechens. The Russian Army restored Russian rule to most Chechen cities by the end of April 1992 and declared that Chechen secession was illegitimate and without a democratic process, i.e. a referendum, unlike what had happened in Transnistria and Gagauzia. This was largely a statement to deflect any accusations of hypocrisy against the Russian government.


    Shamil Busayev

    However the guerilla war against the Russian government continued, and the mountains and hills in Chechnya were not safe as around ~8,000 Chechen separatist guerillas were estimated to have been fighting against the Russian government, hidden in the woods and in plain sight. The first major guerilla activity came on May 15, 1992 when the Grozny Hospital Crisis took place until the 19th of May, 1992, when a group of around 80 militant Chechen separatists led by Shamil Basayev entered Grozny hospital, which was tending to the wounds of the soldiers and civilians who had been affected by the Battle of Grozny.

    Basayev’s men crossed into the city from the northern Caucasus hidden like normal men and wearing disguises to blend in with the populace, and at noon on the 14th of May, 1992, they stormed a small Russian depot and raised the Chechen flags over the depot. After several hours and in the face of Russian reinforcements, the Chechens retreated into the residential districts and regrouped in the city hospital in Grozny. There they took around 4000 patients hostage, most of them civilians including 400 children and a number of pregnant women. On their way to the hospital, the Chechens shot around 60 civilians who refused to cooperate and 8 governmental officials present in the hospital.

    Busayev then issued an ultimatum through a radio, threatening to kill the hostages unless his demands were met. These included the re-establishment of a de-facto independent Chechen republic, and direct negotiations between Russian and Chechen representatives. Also Busayev demanded that the Russian authorities bring reporters to the scene and to allow them to see the entire thing go on live. President Rutskoy took personal charge of the attack, and spoke with Busayev on the phone, telling him, and I quote from Russian governmental records, “Leave the people be! What have they done to you? There are children there, and pregnant women! By God man, do you want to have the blood of innocents on your hands? Leave the hospital, and you will be allowed to walk away freely. Unless that is done then the Special Operational units will arrive soon enough.”

    In response to this call, Busayev killed a 7 year old boy in the hospital, and announced it to the world, with panic seizing in the Russian capital. Yavlinsky wanted to negotiate with the Rebels, and at the same time see them captured, however, Rutskoy refused any notion of even false negotiations, and sent in the Internal Troops, who were basically armed police in the early Russian Federation, and the Spetznaz from the Federal Security Service along with the elite Alpha Group. The strike force attacked the Hospital on May 18, and met fierce resistance. The Russian Prime Minister, Yavlinsky went live on television and told the Russian nation that the rebels would not receive mercy, as they had broken a rule of war.

    A second Russian attack on the hospital also failed, largely in part due to the fact that Chechens were using Russian hostages as human shields. Sergey Kovalyov, a Russian human rights activist who was present in the scene described it as, “In the half an hour after the government assaulted the hospital, the hospital burned, and I saw with my own eyes, as the militants came out, growling, carrying poor crying women with them, using them as shields. The Spetznaz were caught in a terrible position. Attack and see the hostages killed, or don’t attack and see their own positions become untenable. With the fires, the soot, and the pieces of human flesh stuck onto the walls and the ceiling, along with so many lifeless children and elderly, this was a scene akin to a horror movie of the worst kind…..”

    Finally on May 19, Russian Alpha Group members flanked Chechen positions within the hospital and attacked the militants from their behinds, killing the vast majority of them, and their leader, Shamil Busayev was taken prisoner by the Russian Alpha Group. However in the chaos, Chechen militants had killed several hostages as well, and that led to several tragic losses of life.


    the hospital burning after the final assault.

    According to official figures, 229 civilians were killed during the hostage crisis and around 415 were injured, of which 18 would die of their wounds later on. At least 11 Russian police officers and 14 soldiers were killed as well. Almost all of the Russian militants were killed and their leader was captured. It may have been a victory for the Russians, but it tasted bland as a victory after the deaths of so many Russian civilians. The military aftermath after the hostage crisis was damning. The Spetznaz and Internal Troops had been unable to properly coordinate their assaults which led to more loss of life, and their incapability of properly executing anti-terrorist activities had delayed the crisis by a huge period of time. Russian President Rutskoy also took a massive fall in prestige due to the fact that he had been the one unwilling to even open dialogue which had led to the massive loss of life in the Chechen capital. Alexander Lebed, the Chief General in Chechnya, fired more than 20 Spetznaz Generals and Internal Commanders, in retaliation for the crisis and the demanded a new military commission report every single week so that the military could be reformed after this disaster. However this would be simply one among several military disasters for the Russians during the Chechen War’s guerilla phase.


    Russians paying tribute to the fallen of the Hostage crisis.

    The international reaction to the crisis also backfired on the Chechens spectacularly. Many had looked at the Chechen plight with sympathetic eyes as many believed (rightfully so) that the Russians were being quite hypocritical regarding their stance for an independent Gagauzia and Transnistria whilst denying Chechnya the same privilege. However the hospital crisis killed any and all sympathy that the western nations may have harbored in regards to the issue of Chechen independence. Many believed rightfully so that the Chechens were becoming more and more Islamic in nature, and even the Chechen president in exile Dzokhar Dudayev denounced the attack, which opened up a leadership struggle within the Chechen government in exile between the islamist and secular factions of the government.


    From Chapter 19 of The Nagarno-Karabakh War: How Armenia and Azerbaijan Forged Their Modern World

    The election of Pan-Turkish, Pan-Turanist and pan-Islamist Abulfaz Elchibey as the President of Azerbaijan on June 6, 1992 immediately led to several shakeups in the Russo-Azeri tensions that were forming ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. His policies were openly anti-Russians, and he was noted for using an interpreter when speaking with Russian personnel, despite being fluent in the Russian language as he was educated in the RSFSR, which was considered to be a diplomatic slight against the Russian government. He also made controversial statements such as praising the Tatars for having once subjugated the Russian peoples. He also alienated a Russian ally, Iran through his extremely anti-Iranian policies, endorsing the unification of Azerbaijan and Iranian Azerbaijan alienating Tehran.


    Abulfaz Elchibey

    On June 12, the Azeris launched Operation Goranboy, which was a massive large scale military offensive aimed at taking complete control of the entire territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and putting a decisive end to the secessionist Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Just five days after Elchibey was elected president, the Azerbaijani military launched a large scale diversionary attack on the eastern section of the frontlines, in the direction of the Askeran region at the center of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijanis however launched attacks to the positions north and south of Askeran and captured several settlements such as Nakhichevanik, Dovsanli, Pirjamal, Dahraz and Agbulaq.

    On 13 June 1992, Azerbaijan launched the main large-scale three-day offensive against the region of Goranboy (the territory of the former Shahumyan rayon of Azerbaijan SSR) located north of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was defended by the Armenian voluntary detachments. This offensive, code-named Operation Goranboy (named after the rayon that lies to the north of former NKAO) and headed by Suret Huseynov. As many as 4 tank battalions and 2 mechanized infantry battalions of the 23rd Division of the former Soviet Union Army, as well as 4 additional battalions of the Azerbaijan Army and various brigades from the neighboring regions, were joined in this operation. After 15 hours of fierce fighting against the Azerbaijani forces, the two Armenian detachments withdrew. Azerbaijan managed to capture several dozen villages in the Goranboy region originally held by the Armenian forces, and the entire Armenian civilian population of this region fled. According to the report of the Memorial human rights society which sent its mission to Goranboy in the aftermath of the operation, there were no civilian casualties, as Armenians had fled the region before the Azerbaijani troops approached them. The population of the neighboring Azerbaijani and Russian villages remained unaffected.

    This state of affairs was untenable for Armenia, and the scale of the Azerbaijani offensive which had captured around 48% of all territory in Nagorno-Karabakh prompted the Armenian government to openly threaten Azerbaijan with direct intervention to assist the separatists fighting in Karabakh. On 19 June, 1992, the Russian government finally intervened in the conflict and presented a ceasefire agreement. However the ceasefire agreement was deemed far too late and far too little by the Azerbaijani government, and the Azerbaijani government ignored the ceasefire broker agreement and continued to push into Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

    The Russian government was already increasingly put off by the new Azeri regime and by that point in time, the fighting in the Caucasus was starting to spill over into Russian territory and the Russian government decided to use force if the Azeris were unwilling to listen to reason with Russian demands. Russian armaments, including massive quantities of T-72 tanks flooded into the Armenian black market, and were sold to the Armenian government through the black market. Ammunition, and supervisors from Russia found their way into Yerevan, and the Russian government also began to send economic support to Yerevan to ease the pressure of the Armenian Energy Crisis of 1990 – 93. The energy crisis in particular hampered the Armenian economy from responding to the Azeri threat properly and on June 27, 1992, the Russian government’s ‘supervisors’ officially told President Ter-Petrosyan of Armenia that the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant Unit 2 would have to be reconstituted if the energy crisis was to be ended. Funded by the Russians, the Unit 2 was brought back into service by July 4, ending the energy crisis by and large. The Russians had funded the re-opening of the plant, however it was not for free, as the Armenians now held several amount of monetary assets in debt for Russia, however the reopening of energy allowed the Armenians to bounce back in the war.


    An abandoned Armenian AFV in Artsakh.

    On July 5, 1992, Russian warplanes entered Azeri airspace in a clear warning to the regime that the Russian government would act unless Azerbaijan didn’t stand down. The presence of Chechen guerillas in the Azeri forces had also galvanized the Russian populace, as pro-Armenian demonstrations broke out all over the Russian Union, angered at what seemed to be Azeri support for the Chechens.

    However despite this clear warning the Russians would not directly intervene, and the Azeri government was unwilling to let go of what they deemed to be a massive victory for Baku. The constant Russian needling and prickling on behalf of the Armenian government and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States simply made the Azeri government more willing to sacrifice more and more men to the meat grinder to defeat the separatist Armenians. Unlike the Russians who had defeated the Chechens on the conventional platform, the Azeris were still stuck fighting the Armenians on a conventional platform, let alone forcing them into a small low intensity guerilla war.

    However the Winter Offensive of the Armenians from 1992 – 93 would throw the Azeri government into absolute chaos as the Armenians not only defeated the Azeris and threw them out of Nagorno-Karabakh but also took several strongpoints in Azeri territory itself.


    From Chapter 27 of Russian Political History: The Post-Soviet Consensus

    As the economy improved through 1992 after the devastating recession of 1991 and early 1992, and inflation finally withdrew below 200% thanks to the efforts of both Prime Minister Yavlinsky as well as Economics Minister Petr Aven, the question of the Russian referendums about to be held in Russia also took extreme precedence in Russian internal politics.

    The electoral system of the future Russian elections would basically determine the political scene of the future, and as a result, cases for and against Parallel Voting and Mixed-Member Proportional System took place throughout the Russian Union funded and led by several political parties and leaders.

    A major argument for parallel voting was that it allows smaller parties that cannot win individual elections to secure some representation in the legislature; however, unlike in a proportional system they will have a substantially smaller delegation than their share of the total vote. It is also argued that parallel voting does not lead to the degree of fragmentation found in party systems under pure forms of proportional representation.

    A criticism of proportional electoral systems especially that of parallel voting is that the largest parties need to rely on the support of smaller ones in order to form a government. However, smaller parties are still disadvantaged as the larger parties still predominate. In countries where there is one dominant party and a divided opposition, the proportional seats may be essential for allowing an effective opposition.

    Because the vote is split between constituencies and a list, there is a chance that two classes of representatives will emerge under an SM system: with one class beholden to their electorate seat, and the other concerned only with their party.

    The major critique of parallel systems was also that they cannot and could not guarantee overall proportionality.

    One of the major criticisms that took place during the public debate with the Mixed-Member Proportional System was that of its tendency at times to create Overhang seats. When a party wins more constituency seats than it would be entitled to from its proportion of (party list) votes, some systems allow for overhang seats then to be added. Overhang seats add to the normal number of seats for the duration of the electoral period. As a result many anti-Mixed Leaders attacked the system.

    Other debates also took place regarding the situation in regards to the second point referendum that would be taking place between the question of a Presidential Republic or Parliamentary Republic. Supporters of a Presidential system owed their claims based on four factors. The first was that of direct elections. According to many supporters, in a presidential system the president would be elected directly by the people making their legitimacy greater than that of an indirectly elected leader. Pro-Presidential leaders also based their argument on the basis of the separation of powers. In a presidential system, the presidency and legislature would be two parallel structures, thus allowing the two to check one another. Speed and decisiveness of decision making was also emphasized by many as an argument in favor of the Presidential system. Finally, the stability of having a president for a fixed term was emphasized to be a greater stabilizing factor than a prime minister who could be dismissed at any time.

    Criticism of the Presidential system was also made in abundance. The Soviet Union had a de-facto presidential system and everyone knew how that worked out. The rather poor showing of President Rutskoy during the Grozny Hospital Hostage Crisis also added fuel to the fire for critics. Critics based their main criticisms of the presidential system on the basis of its tendency towards authoritarianism; presidential systems raised the stakes of elections, exacerbating their polarization which could potentially lead to authoritarian rule. The separation of the presidency and legislature also frequently led to political gridlock when the two were openly against the other’s policies and was used as a major argument against the system. A new criticism was also applied specifically to nations with a proportionally elected legislature and a presidency. Where the voters are virtually all represented by their votes in the proportional outcome, the presidency is elected on a winner-take-all basis. Two different electoral systems are therefore in play, potentially leading to conflicts that are based on the natural differences of the systems.


    Finally on June 25, 1992, the day for the referendum came forward. On July 29, the results of the referendum were released to the public. With a turnout of 77%, the 56.87% of all Russians voted in favor of a Mixed-Member Proportional System, whilst 52.41% of all Russians voted to become a Parliamentary Republic. Immediately, the Russian Electoral Commission published a new report, deeming the Mixed-Member Proportional Regional Lists to be implemented in the following regions: Kaliningrad, Belarus, Crimea, Northern Caucasus, Volga Basin, Central Russia, Northern Russia, Ural Region, Western Siberia, Eastern Siberia, Amur Region, Far East Russia. A total of ten seats would be allocated each for every single region, making 120 seats out of 575 in the Russian State Duma electable through the regional list. This system would soon be implemented for the 1993 Russian Parliamentary Elections.


    The Flag of the Russian Union adopted after the Referendums of 1992

    President Rutskoy agreed to the results of the referendum and told the public that the new constitution of Russia which was being written down would factor in the results of the referendum. The referendums also led to the selection of a new Russian flag. After the referendum was declared over, the Russian government slated the first parliamentary elections of the country to be held on March, 1993, and as six months were left for the election more or less, official campaigns were started by the political parties of the Russian Union in regards to the upcoming elections.


    From Chapter 29 of The Failed Union? The European Dream

    The Maastricht Treaty was a treaty concluded on 7 February, 1992 by the 12 founding nations of the European Communities and became the foundation of the European Union. It announced a ‘new stage in the process of European integration, chiefly in provisions for a shared European citizenship, for the eventual introduction of a single currency and for common foreign and security policies.’

    However many countries throughout the European Union stated that they would have to hold referendums in order to ratify the treaty, as the individual eursceptic parties in their countries were particularly powerful. Denmark and France was chief among these countries who demanded that a referendum be allowed for the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. The newly established European Union agreed to allow individual countries to hold referendums regarding the ratification of the treaties if they so wished.

    On the 2nd of June, 1992, the Maastricht referendum was held in Denmark and was rejected by 50.7% of the voters with a turnout of around 83.1% of the electorate. The rejection was a huge blow to European integration, although the process continued on subdued as it may have been. With the European Integration Process in Denmark halted, the so called Maastricht Rebels in the British government and Parliament also intensified their attacks on Prime Minister John Major and asked him to conduct a referendum regarding the issue within the United Kingdom as well. Prime Minister Major refused, however stated that opt outs for Britain regarding foreign and security policy as well as the European Fixed Rate Mechanism and the Eurzone would be sought by him, as well as a general opposition to any sort of idea for European federalism. Major was a soft-europhile, and while he was willing to join a European union that was based in economics, he was not willing himself to enter Britain into a federal European state, with his famous June 4, 1992 Parliament speech. “I must agree with some of the so called rebels on some issues……Britain has been a sovereign state, and we cannot allow ourselves to be subsumed into a new federal union based in Brussels. We will stay with Europe, for they are our allies and neighbors, but we will not be a part of a European superstate. Nonetheless, the rebels must relent and come to terms, the treaty will be extraordinarily beneficial for our economy and our social sector……”

    On August 22, the French Maastricht Referendum was held. The center left Socialist Party then in power in France as well as the center right Union for French Democracy campaigned in favor of the treaty. Jacques Chirac, the leader of the Gaullist Rally for the Republic also took a pro-European stance despite the party’s overall anti-European stance. On the other side, the Euroskeptic Rally for the Republic, other than their leader, heralded the no vote. Communists also opposed what they largely considered to be an advancement of neo-liberalism. The Front National, led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, and his radical right party also opposed any sort of integration into Europe. The Worker’s Struggle initially wanted to abstain against the referendum, however the Danish referendum had given the party a boost in euroskeptics and Arlette Laguiller finally acquiesced with party demands to campaign for the no vote. Prominent French figures like Emmanuel Todd also argued against European integration in France.

    The introduction of a common currency was the most debated aspect of the campaign. The three major right wing figures campaigned against it, Philippe Seguin, Charles Pasqua and Philippe de Villiers, often named Souverainist, argued that it would be a blow to French monetary independence, and as a result, political sovereignty as a whole. Seguin and de Villiers were coming from the top school for senior civil service, the Ecole nationale d’administration, like left wing dissenters such as Jean-Pierre Chevenement. On the eve of the referendum vote, Philippe Seguin and President Francois Mitterand famously faced off in a passionate but nevertheless respectful television debate with one another about the referendum.

    Philippe de Villiers who was present during the debate writes in his memoirs De Villiers: The Aristocrat in Republican France, that, “The debate was passionate. Mitterand gave it all he had, arguing in favor of international cooperation, European solidarity and a common currency market. Likewise Seguin argued passionately, pointing out the loss of French monetary independence if a common currency was made, and the overall loss of French decision making on its own if it had to defer to another body to make foreign policy for them. But in the end both men came down from the podiums and shook their hands, and laughed with each other, trading friendly barbs. It was as if the two had never debated with one another during that night.”

    3-french referendum.png

    Finally the results came in. The French populace had voted narrowly in favor of not ratifying the European Maastricht Treaty. The Maastricht process was totally thrown into chaos after the French and Danes rejected the Maastricht Treaty. Major is said to have said, “This… a disaster of epic proportions.” Which did basically convey the feeling of everyone in Europe. Major stopped the introduction of the treaty in the parliament for fear of rejection of the treaty as well, and throughout Europe alarm spread as the treaty was rejected. Ireland stopped their amendment bill as well for fear of losing a referendum which would vote in favor of not ratifying the treaty, and in Brussels pandemonium rocked the halls of the headquarters of the European Union.

    On August 29, President Mitterand announced that the French cabinet and government would be working towards creating an opt-out for the French government within the European Union regarding the Schengen Area, the Monetary Union and Security and justice Area. Similarly the Danish government announced that the Danes would be seeking opt-outs for the free movement area, the monetary union, Security and Defense Policy and Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Similarly Prime Minister John Major announced that Britain would too be looking for opt outs for the free movement area, the monetary union, the AFSJ and the Charter of Fundamental Rights before the treaty would be brought before the Parliament again.


    From Russians: A History of the People

    The fall of the Soviet Union left approximately 12 to 14 million ethnic Russians within new countries of which they didn’t want to be a part of. Especially in the Baltic and Caucasian republics, the ethnic Russian populace had boycotted the independence movement and now as their homeland turned independent, they found out that they weren’t being welcomed by their new governments. Ethnic bias against ethnic Russians and slavs grew multifold, and anti-Russian and inter-ethnic riots and attacks became commonplace in some countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Georgia. As a result, the Russian government was almost inevitably drawn to its massive diaspora that was being affected by unequal laws all throughout the former Soviet Union.


    Ethnic Russians in the USSR in 1989.

    Russia’s economy despite the fast movement to control the inevitable economic crash was falling down in the economic graphs, and the Russians needed manpower for the large business corporates that were opening up in Russia, on behalf of the international monetary fund which had increased incentives for businesses to take part in the Russian privatization process. As a result, many Russian politicians saw a massive opportunity that could be utilized for the Russian government in favor of economic development and stymying the economic downfall after the fall of the Soviet Union.

    On August 4, 1992, Prime Minister Yavlinsky announced that a repatriation scheme would be introduced by the Russian State Duma to ensure that ethnic Russians who wanted to return home to Russia would be able to do so in a proper manner. Prime Minister Yavlinsky laid out the full points of the Repatriation Plan on August 7, 1992.

    1. Intergovernmental effort to make sure that ethnic Russian who wanted to return to Russia would be able to do so in a free and able manner.
    2. The creation of new ‘residential cores’ in smaller Russian cities to accommodate the new incoming populace from the former USSR.
    3. The creation of a Diaspora Commission to oversee and supervise the repatriation of ethnic Russians from the former Soviet Union.

    The bill passed in the State Duma with near unanimity as 561 members of the Duma voted in favor of the bill, whilst around 9 voted against and 5 abstained from voting in the process.

    Many ethnic Russians living outside of Russia received the news with warmth and were eager to return back to Russia. Vladislavs Rafalskis, a Russian Latvian writes in his memoirs, ‘We ethnic Russians in Latvia have to bear so much humiliations……We have to take a Latvian language test, a test on Latvian history, a test on Latvian culture. I have lived my entire life here, of course I know its history, culture and language. I had to pledge loyalty to the government and if I protest against unjust laws that to an extent aims at discriminating Latvia’s Russophone population, then I am declared disloyal.’

    On August 16, 1992, the Russian government began to negotiate with the former Soviet Republics to repatriate Russians back to Russia. Negotiations would continue deep into late 1992, however overall the policy was partially successful. From 1992 to 2010, around 4 million ethnic Russians would migrate back to Russia due to the repatriation scheme that was made by Prime Minister Yavlinsky.

    Chapter 5: New Developments
  • Russia Resurgent: The Redux!


    Chapter 5: New Developments


    Chapter 12 of the The Russian Economy: A History in Analysis

    The economy of Russia had been saved from a major depression after the good work of Prime Minister Grigory Yavlinsky and the combined works of the Financial Minister Petr Aven and Minister of Economic Relations as well. However the main fact remained that despite these early actions, and the stabilization of the Russian Ruble, the Russian economy continued to fall into the negative sphere, as the Russian economic system tried to struggle with the fall of the entire former Soviet economic sphere, a system it had been intertwined with for the last seventy years. Any economy would be hit hardly by the breakup of the nation, however the Russian economy, through the actions of Aven and Yavlinsky, proved to be capable of mitigating the storm. Of course this had its own downsides, as the two ministers were forced to cut education funding to stabilize the economy for the moment, however considering the entire education system was in chaos from the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the suspension of the old curriculum meant that, despite the sad reality, cutting funds from education was perhaps the field in which it was most viable. Cutting funds from the transportation or health sector could have seen the Russian economy and nation fall into deep crisis, but the strategic thinking of the coalition cabinet allowed the Russians to stave off such a disaster. [1]


    a government funded cooking center for the jobless in Russia in the 1990s.

    However with inflation rising again slightly due to the war scare in the Caucasus and the continued Chechen terrorist attacks precipitated the Moscow Stock Exchange to lose several points in the stock market, and Yavlinsky with alarm recognized the symptoms of a market crash. “It was there for all to see. If I had been born and lived before 1929 I would not have recognized the signs of calamity approaching, however having lived after 1929 after which time I could look at historical economics with an unbiased eye, I could see what the points falling rapidly meant. We were headed to stock market collapse unless we did something fast.” Yavlinsky wrote later in his diary.

    After conferring with Aven and the rest of the Russian cabinet, the Russian government decided to pass pre-emptive economic reforms in a flurry of research and activity in order to stave off an economic meltdown. It had been predicted that after a year or two after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the big countries of the former USSR – Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – would face an economic meltdown sometime, however for the Russians, trying to mitigate is worst effects would have been an astounding success, as mitigating all of the economic meltdown was impossible economically. A small recession was far better in the minds of the government rather than a full blown depression.

    The Economic Acts of 1992 that was passed by the Russian government from September to October 1992 basically passed several new economic reforms that would allow the Russian government to weather the storm.

    A totally new updated fiscal policy was implemented by the government, and most importantly, capitalistic financial controls were implemented into the Russian economy for the first time since 1924 after the New Economic Plan had been scrapped by Stalin. These Financial control policies allowed the government to properly utilize their economic resources, and would allow the Russians to maintain operational efficiency at a homegrown level. In order to pass these financial controls, new qualification restrictions were created, and a direct chain of communication among the government’s economic staff was created rather than the previous decentralized system of governance. Monthly financial analysis and evaluations were also conducted as a financial control measure which allowed the Russians to weed out incompetent members of their Economic Ministry fast and replace them with competent bureaucrats who were good in what they did. Using the loans given to the Russians by the IMF and World Bank, the government also partook in cash inflow, by using a stringent credit policy to maintain the stability of the Ruble, which ensured that the currency’s value would not fall during the economic crisis that enveloped Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Turnover taxes were also implemented on company turnovers within Russia, which had huge turnovers but little corporation tax. Turnover Taxes, basically is a tax that is similar to a Value Added Tax, with the difference that it taxes intermediate and possibly capital goods. It is a special example of an indirect tax. This tax would force Russian companies to increase corporate accountability and decrease institutional corruption within their economic apparatus.

    The Russians also quickly implemented a land value tax and levied these taxes on unimproved values of lands throughout the country. It was conducted by the Russians with the intention of reducing economic inequality and increasing economic efficiency. A moderate rate of 3% was applied by the Russians in the Land Value Tax, which remains the rate of the LVT in Russia till even today. This allowed the Russians to properly analyze the value of land in their country and their economical worth, which allowed them in the end to appropriate proper resources to lands according to their needs.


    A Russian nuclear silo

    Finally the Russians also reviewed their nuclear arsenal. Their nuclear arsenal was quite frankly at this moment in time, expensive. They held around 43,000 nuclear weapons, which was costing a fortune to hold properly. For Yavlinsky and indeed the entire Russian cabinet, if 500 nuclear weapons were enough to destroy the entire world once over, then 43,000 was just too much. It was no deterrent at that stage, but more like that of an expensive showpiece that had no real value. It was decided that the nuclear funds would be slashed by more than half their amount, and that by 2000, the Russian nuclear arsenal would be limited down to 2200 active and deployed warheads, whilst the total nuclear arsenal of the country would stay constant at 10,000. The rest would be scrapped, and disposed of, the government decided. This was a smart move, as even scrapping nuclear weapons required manpower and labor, and it allowed the Russians to create cheap, but effectual occupations for those in need in the country, allowing greater economic mobility between several occupations in the country.


    Moscow Stock Market

    In the end these acts were successful. On November 5, 1992, the market points fell considerably again, the Russian economy once again entered recession. However it was far less severe than what it might have been. Despite the recession, as Economist Paul Krugman wrote down in his book, The Antithesis of Economics, ‘The Russian economy was poised to fall down into disrepair and there was nothing that the Russian people would be able to do but starve and see their entire economic apparatus fall apart in front of their own eyes. However successful governmental intervention on part of the Russian government allowed the Russians to stave off what would have been an epic economic depression. The Russians had showed their efficiency in matters of economic governance and the financial controls and taxes that were levied by the government allowed the Russians to ease their recession and by mid-1993 the recession was over. The Russians had survived the economic crash. Unfortunately that would not be the case for countries such as Ukraine and Georgia.’


    Chapter 21 of the European Dream: Economic or Political Union? The Rise of Euroscepticism.

    The rejection of the Maastricht Treaty by the French and Danish population was a massive blow to the European project. It put the entire question of a monetary union into the air. The British and Irish also stalled negotiations with the European Union on the basis of these referendums, in fear, that they too would have problems to deal with, as these countries also had massive underlying Eurosceptic populations. The southern European countries were also caught up in this mess of epic proportions.


    Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti of Italy

    On September 17, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti of Italy declared that Italy would also opt out from the Euro currency. Andreotti was usually favorable to the Euro, however the situation in the north had completely destroyed any credibility that his argument of a deep economic and monetary union for the European Union, and before the proverbial lions could pounce on him, he had to make a decision, and he made it in the form of opting out. The Italians opting out of the Euro forced a chain event throughout the Mediterranean members of the European Union as well. Felipe Gonzalez, the Prime Minister of Spain announced that Spain would be looking into the matters of monetary independence to make sure that competition between currencies would spur the Spanish economy onwards. Portuguese Prime Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva also announced that the Portuguese government would be looking for other monetary measures than the Euro. Finally the Greek Prime Minister, Konstantinos Mutsotakis, who was already looking for a way to revitalize the Greek economy, seized upon this chance, and also announced that the Greek nation would look for an opt-out too. This reduced the European monetary project to be limited to basically Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, and many even in Germany became pessimistic at the massive amount of opt-outs going on in the European Union.

    It was obvious for anyone with eyes to look with, that the Euro project had failed, and utterly. The 1992 Danish and 1992 French Referendums had destroyed the Euro project and it was now time for the European Union to find a solution.

    On December 18, 1992, the European leaders arrived onto the shores of the United Kingdom, or more specifically in Edinburgh, Scotland, where they would decide the future of the monetary union, and discuss all possible opt-outs for the nations interested in them. The countries involved in the opt-out negotiations were Britain, Ireland, France, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal, and all of them demanded that their countries be excluded from the Economic and Monetary Union, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Union. Britain, Denmark and France also demanded that they also be given an opt-out from the Justice and Home Affairs of the European Union and the Citizenship of the European Union.

    All of these opt outs were agreed by the European Union’s government based in and around of Brussels. The next negotiations that took place was in regards to the Euro. A currency encompassing only Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Finland would not be a currency that was envisioned by the European federalists and economists. It basically stopped the Euro from being a proper currency at the French border and the Latin World in Europe basically refused to accept the Euro after the September Crisis. Ireland and Britain were insistent on keeping their respective currencies, the British and Irish Pounds, and the Swedes were threatening to leave the European Union if a pan-European currency was imposed on them. In Germany, Chancellor Helmut Kohl was put into a difficult spot as the German economy was still suffering from the woes of economic unification, and further economic strains would make the German economy untenable. Despite his personal preference for the Euro, the German Chancellor after conferring with the German government, decided that Germany too would not adopt the currency. After Germany bowed out from the proverbial sinking ship, the Euro was dead. Like Thatcher had wanted, the European countries agreed that they would retain their personal currencies, creating a system of competition between their countries to make sure that competition led to innovation and higher efficiencies of their economies. The retention of local currencies allowed the countries to fiddle with their currencies in a more decentralized manner, rather than the mass bureaucratic problems that would arise from a shared currency as well. In hindsight we can say that the non-adoption of the Euro was a good idea, however at the time, there was widespread sadness at the project failing to get off the ground at all.


    The Edinburgh Agreement of 1992 being signed.

    After the Edinburgh Agreement was signed, giving the countries the Opt-Outs they wanted, the European Union went on ahead, and the French and Danes would ratify the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 after a new referendum with the amendments of the Edinburgh Agreement listed in. For former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, this was a colossal victory, as the economic system that she had designed for the European Union had been adopted, and in her biography The Iron Lady, its writer, James Johnson includes a particular anecdote on the series of the events that was the Edinburgh agreement.

    Thatcher was pleased to hear of the Edinburgh agreement. She was perhaps one of the few in the dreary and downtrodden atmosphere throughout Europe at the failure of the Euro that was celebrating. She remarked to her aide the day after the news was sent out throughout Europe, that competition in the European economy had survived.’


    Chapter 48 of The Nagorno-Karabakh Situation

    The Summer Offensive undertaken by the Azeris in the summer of 1992 against the Armenians and Armenian separatists was brutal, and efficient. They pushed deep into enemy territory and reclaimed more than half of their lands. However despite diplomatic intervention by the Russian government, the Azeri government became overconfident and dismissed any idea of a peace settlement out of hand. Their nationalistic government and pan-Turkic government had alienated all of the former Soviet republics, and had destroyed any credibility that they had in their eyes. The Russians as a result began supplying the Armenians with truckloads of weapons and equipment. Russian supervisors came from the Russian Army to take command of several ‘independent’ brigades, and the Armenians began preparing for the Autumn Counteroffensive which would turn the war in Nagorno-Karabakh on its head.


    Armenian troops during the Autumn Counter-Offensive

    The 1st Armenian Army Corps commanded by General Yury Kachaturov was ordered on September 2, to take the fight to the Azeri government. Based in and around the Armenian south, the 1st Armenian Army Corps moved into Nagorno-Karabakh and began to take up military positions, much to the glee of the members of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic/Artsakh Republic. Containing 1 brigade, and 5 regiments, this army corps was the cream of Armenia’s professional troops. The Armenians pounced. From Armenia they advanced on towards Hadrud and defeated an Azeri battalion placed in the city. The Armenians had advanced from Qubayali and completely cut of the Azeri defenders in the city, forcing them to surrender and give themselves up to the Armenians as Prisoners of War. The Armenian Airforce, though small, began to provide efficient battle support, as flares and guided missiles were dropped into strategic locations to aid the Armenian army on the ground. Meanwhile Operation Tigranes commenced as well as the Northern Army based at Jermuk invaded Azeri territory as well to liberate the occupied territories of the Artsakh republic. 4 Regiments including 2 armored regiments crossed into Azeri territory and began to attack Azeri positions all across the border.


    An Azeri trooper during the Battle of Shahumyan

    The northern armies of Armenia, the 2nd Army Corps, moved faster than the one in the south. The Azeris had imagined that the Armenians would attack from the south and had defended the area whilst neglecting the north, and as a result, the Armenians did little but walk right in. They advanced all the way upto Shahumyan before encountering any serious resistance.

    At the Battle of Shahumyan, the Azeris resisted fiercely, aided by Chechen mercenaries and Islamic mercenaries from throughout the Islamic world. The Armenians however had the higher firepower, with air support and tank regiments colliding into undefended infantry positions. The Azeris were forced into headlong retreat by the Armenian onslaught. The Armenain 2nd Army Corps then moved to the northeast as well, and captured the key strategic town of Martakert, and directly threatened the heart of Azerbaijan. In the south the Azeris were having a hard time as well. Russian equipment and aid to the Armenians showed as the Armenians broke through Azeri lines again and again, and the Armenian guerillas of Nagorno-Karabakh aided the Armenians with irregular warfare behind Azeri communication and transportation lines, which destroyed any capability of a coordinated attack.

    By the end of September, the Armenians had recaptured all occupied territory and had freed the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic from its occupation. Now the Armenians were on the verge of invading core Azeri territory itself, which if it did happen would force the Azeris onto the backfoot. The Azeris had been the one to escalate the war with their Summer Offensive and international opinion had soured against Azerbaijan as a result and they could not find international sympathy at all.

    A temporary ceasefire was announced on the 12th of October, 1992 with the intention of letting both countries sort their differences out, however the Azeris, enraged at the bungling of the war by their President, Abdulfaz Elchibey, they turned their attention to him. The Azeri army was mutinous, and several members of the Azeri government conspired against Elchibey. The Minister of Interior Affairs of Azerbaijan, Isgander Hamidov was approached by General Surat Huseynov, who plotted a coup against the government led by Elchibey. Hamidov agreed and managed to rope in Rahim Gaziyev, the Defense Minister, who was disgusted at Elchibey’s handling of the war to dethrone Elchibey from his position of power.


    Isgandar Hamidov

    Huseynov led the 3rd Azeri Army away from the front, leaving a gaping hole in the frontlines on the 28th of October, and his army, loyal to him and not the state marched towards Baku. The situation was precipitous. Elchibey conferred with his cabinet for the situation at hand, however the conspirators present in the cabinet stalled the process, and on the 3rd of November, the 3rd Army appeared on the outskirts of Baku’s metropolitan district ready to conduct a coup. Finally Hamidov and Gaziyev showed their true colors and joined the coup and Elchibey’s position declined further. He fled the city at night aboard a ship in the Caspian Sea making for Turkmenistan and the government surrendered without a real fight and Huseynov entered the city without shedding blood. Isgandar Hamidov named himself the new President of the Azeri Republic, whilst Gaziyev was made the Prime Minister. General Surat Huseynov was made the Minister of Defense. The three began to create a new troika, as power in the Azeri republic soon became revolved around these three personalities.

    Hamidov was all bluster as President, even going so far as to support a nuclear strike on the Armenians, and Huseynov had to reel the man in. He knew that despite the humiliation Azerbaijan was in no state to seek further hostilities, and decided that now peace was needed. On November 17, he contacted the Russian government and asked for mediation between Armenian and Azerbaijan. The Russian government agreed. On December 2, 1992 the Russians, Armenians and Azeries met each other in the Russian city of Sochi to discuss a peace agreement.

    The Text of the Sochi Agreement signed on the 8th of December, 1992 reads out:-

    Participants of the meeting held in December in Sochi on the initiative of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, Parliament of Russian Republic, Federal Congress and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Union: express determination to assist in all possible ways to the cessation of armed conflict in and around Nagorno Karabakh, which does not only cause irretrievable losses to Azerbaijani and Armenian people, but also significantly affects the interests of other countries in the region and seriously complicates the international situation; supporting the December 1992 Statement by the CIS Council of heads of states, express readiness to fully support the efforts by heads and representatives of executive power on cessation of the armed conflict and liquidation of its consequences by reaching an appropriate agreement as soon as possible; advocate a naturally active role of the Commonwealth and InterParliamentary Assembly in cessation of the conflict, in realization of thereupon principles, goals and the UN and OSCE certain decisions; call upon the conflicting sides to come to common senses: cease to fire at the midnight of December 10, guided by the CIS Protocol (including the part on allocating observers), and work intensively to confirm this as soon as possible by signing a reliable, legally binding agreement envisaging a mechanism, ensuring the non-resumption of military and hostile activities, withdrawal of troops from occupied territories and restoration of communication, return of refugees; agree to suggest Parliaments of the CIS member-states to discuss the initiative by Chairman of Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly V. Shumeyko and Head of the Assembly’s Peacemaking Group on Nagorno Karabakh M. Sherimkulov on creating a CIS peacemaking force; consider appropriate to continue such meetings for peaceful resolution of the armed conflict; express gratitude to the people and leadership of Russia for creating excellent working conditions, cordiality and hospitality.”[2]

    The conflict had ended as a frozen war. The line of control was seen as the official demarcation of the border, and the Commonwealth of Independent States banded together, and 5,000 Russian, 3,000 Ukrainian, 1,000 Kazakh and 500 Kyrgyz peacekeeper troops were deployed to the region to retain the tentative peace that had been formed. The 1st Nagorno-Karabakh War was over. It had cost the lives of nearly 25,000 people throughout the region and had left millions without a proper home and a proper occupation to feed themselves. The Caucasus would continue to be a big thorn in the side of the Russians and the CIS, especially as the new dictatorship in Azerbaijan licked its wounds for a second round.


    From Chapter 27 of The Restoration of the House of Romanov

    The issue of the morganatic marriage had consumed the life of Grand Duke Vladimir and the remaining members of the House of Romanov. After all, despite the overthrow of the monarchy, the Pauline Laws were still in effect and demanded that no woman ascend to the throne. However the closest heir to the Romanov title, Nicholas Romanov, a cousin/nephew of Grand Duke Vladimir was extremely angered by the proposal that he would be left out of the line of succession if the Pauline Laws were amended and ever since the 1980s the family had been rocked in bitter dispute with one another regarding the topic.

    Finally on the 27th of November, 1992, Grand Duke Vladimir signed the Moscow Protocol of 1992, and as head of the House of Romanov, declared that the Pauline Laws of 1801 were null and void for the House of Romanov. However in order to reach a compromise for the family, he declared that despite the fact that he legitimized morganatic marriages into the line of succession, his own morganatic marriage did not legitimize his children, as his marriage happened before the Protocol of 1992. Therefore, the rights of succession went to his nephew, Prince Nicholas. The succession after Prince Nicholas would be absolute primogeniture which allowed Nicholas’s own daughter, Princess Natalia to become head of the house after Nicholas’s death.

    It was a comprehensive protocol, and solved the succession crisis within the House of Romanov. All other claimants from other houses, like the ones in Germany and the Balkans were placed behind the main branch of the house on the condition of being Russian. The Russian Parliament recognized the Protocol as well, and the Pauline Laws which were kept in the Russian Records were amended with the protocol’s new laws being added in.

    With the protocol being established, prominent Russian monarchists established the Russian Monarchist League on the 20th of December 1992, with the sole intention of being a pressure group to restore the Russian Monarchy. With Zhanna Bichevskaya as its Chairman and Boris Nemtsov as its Secretary General, the league had huge names to its favor, and prominent politicians such as Nikita Mikhailov, who was also a respected and established film maker and Andrey Savelyev, a prominent politician in his own right, also campaigned into the league in favor of Russian monarchism.

    A poll that was created by the Levada Center in Moscow after a collection of information from the past few years since 1988 compiled a poll that showed the rise of monarchism in Russian society during the late 1980s and early 1990s [3] and showed a 10% lead in Russian society at the time for restoring a constitutional monarchy after the failure of the Soviet Union to survive properly.

    russian monarchist poll.png

    These events would certainly prove to become the prelude to the 2002 Restoration of the Russian Monarchy.


    From Chapter 27 of Russian Electoral History

    The Russian Union was officially a federal republic, and as a result, the federal members of the country with significant autonomy were allowed to have their own elections. The first of these elections would be the 1992 Belarusian Parliamentary Elections, which would be the first platform for the Russian political parties to fight it out with one another. The 1992 Referendum had amended the Belarusian Supreme Soviet into the Belarusian Autonomous Duma with 270 seats reserved for the unicameral autonomous parliament.

    The Liberal Democrats, National Salvationists, Uniters (the colloquial term used to describe members of the Unity and Accord Party), Social Democrats and Greens all began to gear up for what was the first partisan election in the history of the Russian Union. Led by Stanislau Bahdankievic, the Liberal Democrats in Belarus were keen on emphasizing the nationalist history of Russia within Belarus and roused the russophilia of the people to coerce them into voting for them. They used violent words, such as war, and destruction and framed the current economic crisis on the government despite the government actually mitigating the economic recession. The National Salvation Front in Belarus led by Sergey Kalyakin was more moderate in its approached and rebranded itself as a Eurocommunist party instead of a typical communist government, and advocated for a stronger interventionist policy, using the successful interventionist policy of Yavlinsky as their basis in argument. They also called for a gradual privatization of the country that would take place in a planned and orderly format with the state still holding a good amount of power. Belarus, a typical leftist stronghold was strongly swayed by the National Salvation Front. The Unity and Accord Party proved itself to be popular among liberals and traditional conservatives, with their liberal-conservative rhetoric and fiery speeches by Mikalaj Kazlou, the leader of the party within Belarus certainly swayed opinions. The Unity and Accord Party was largely in favor of strong free trade agreements with the European nations to strengthen the economy and was seen as a soft pro-European party. The Social Democratic Party, the party of Yavlinsky, was led by Aleh Trusau and the Social Democrats largely drew upon Yavlinsky’s success’s to back up their electoral campaign, with great success, as they continued further economic reforms. The SDP also became the first party to really highlight Belarus’s autonomy with Russia and did promise extra protection to the Belarusian ethnic peoples of the country. The Belarusian Ecological Party did moderately well, with Oleg Gromyko leading the party through with some agrarian and democratic socialist ideals.

    1992 belarusian parliamentary elections.png

    At the end, the National Salvation Front had earned the victory, taking 86 seats, however they did not hold majority seats within the Belarusian Duma. They would either be forced into a coalition or minority government. The National Salvationists allied with the Social Democratic Party and formed a coalition with them (with over 60% of the seats in the coalition) and formed the first autonomous government of Belarus with the National Salvationist leader, Sergey Kalyakin becoming the Chairman of the Belarusian Duma and the Belarusian First Minister.


    [1] – Obviously OTL, the Russians cut funds from health and transportation, when Education was being funded in full. However, when the question comes forward about being literate or being alive, being alive is seen as the better answer by the Russians ittl.

    [2] – Adapted from the Otl Bishibek Protocol – source:

    [3] – this is actually an otl fact. The book I am using, is written in Russian, and states how monarchism became intensely popular during this time.
    Last edited:
    Chapter 6: Healing a Nation
  • Russia Resurgent: The Redux!


    Chapter 6: Healing a Nation


    From How Chechnya Was Robbed of its Freedom by William Walker

    The Chechen War had in 1993, been raging on for over a year by January 1993, and for most Russians, they were quite sick of the war. Already suffering through a recession due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the war in Chechnya was also taking up funds that could be used to revitalize the economy and make the general situation of the country far better than what it once was. Despite the fact that the Battle of the Terek River and the Battle of Grozny, which had destroyed the conventional fighting capability of the Chechen separatists, the mountains and isolated valleys in the northern Caucasus remained in the hands of the separatists and they conducted several guerilla campaigns against the Russian governmental forces in the region.


    Aslan Mashkadov.

    By this point, a split had developed in the Chechen government. The main government, led by Dzokhar Dudayev was of the ideology that a secular government that would secure the rights the ethnic minorities of Chechnya, most especially the Russians, Ukrainians and Georgia, whilst the growing Islamic faction coalesced around Aslan Mashkadov, who whilst being a moderate islamist, was the most powerful Islamist in the Chechen government, thus why he became their de-facto leader. Dudayev was extremely angered by the hospital siege conducted the Chechen separatists in 1992 and had even threatened to cut all ties with the Chechen state and defect back over to the Russians if the Chechen’s didn’t stop on their Islamic course.


    Emir Khattab

    Soon enough, the situation and state of affairs within the Chechen holdouts was no longer tenable. Dudayev was becoming more and more irritated by the Islamic demands, and the blatant pandering to Islamic Terrorists. On the 17th of January, 1993, the last straw arrived for the man, when well-known Islamic Radical Emir Khattab landed in one of the Chechen bases in the Caucasus Mountains. Dudayev barged into the meeting that was created to welcome the Emir and his mercenary army in the region and demanded that Khattab return back home or else he would give Khattab to the International Court of Justice and the Russian government himself. Mashkadov refused to listen to this and pragmatically pointed out that despite the fact that Khattab was extremely unsavory, the thousands he would bring would be especially important in keeping the Russian Armed Forces out of Chechen lands.

    Dudayev blew up in anger. His eldest son had already been killed in a Russian airstrike early that year, and he was extremely angered by the fact that the Chechens were now taking help from known radicals who wanted nothing but to ‘purge’ the non-Chechens of Chechnya. Dudayev supported the rights of every Chechen in the country, and he is stated to have said, “I will not support this Aslan! I will not! The Emir is a threat to our stability, our cause and our nation. Those Russians and Ukrainians that you so hate have lived in Grozny for two hundred years! By Allah! Those people are as Chechen as you or I. We cannot strip them of their rights! Nor can we impose on them to leave the lands that they have known for the past two hundred years!”

    Dudayev had enough. On the 19th of January, 1993 he secretly contacted Lieutenant General Alexander Lebed, who was in charge of the region, and asked him for peace terms. This was however discovered by Dudayev’s servant, who had Islamic tendencies, and he told Mashkadov about this. In a coup, Mashkadov led the Chechen guerillas against their once venerated leader, and imprisoned him. Mashkadov took the mantle of Leader and President of the Chechens after a special vote in the Chechen Congress. Dudayev’s wife, who had tried to resist the coup was killed, and Dudayev’s last remaining younger son was imprisoned alongside his father.

    Lebed, who did not receive any further calls from Dudayev was suspicious immediately and he began to concentrate the Russian Armed Forces in the region for one last attack. Lebed, had in the past few years been instrumental in the creation of a semi-professional armed force in the region, which was distinctively lacking in the Russian Army.


    A Soviet trooper being brutalized as a part of the Dedovshchina tradition.

    A particularly toxic legacy of Soviet times was dedovshchina – “grandfatherism” – a distinctive and brutal Russian seniority-based hazing culture that led to hundreds of deaths among conscripts every year. No army is immune to bullying and abuse, but in the Soviet military the cycle of spring and fall call-ups for soldiers to fulfill their two-year national service obligation meant that at any given time the conscripts were divided into four six-monthly cohorts. This generated an unofficial progression through stages of military life: a newly arrived molodoy (“youngster”) could expect to be lorded over by the dedy (“grandfathers”) who were more than half way through their service, and by the dembely (from “demobilizing”) who were serving their last hundred days. Newer recruits were forced to serve the older ones – to perform their duties, hand over food (especially that sent from home), and even go through the ritual of the “hundred days,” putting a cigarette under the pillow of a dembel every night until the end of his service.

    This culture was enforced by often brutal means, including everything from humiliations to beatings. In Soviet and even early post-Soviet times dedovshchina was officially decried but unofficially tolerated, because it was believed to offer an alternative form of discipline. For a relatively small and often under-trained junior officer corps, without adequate numbers of seasoned NCOs on whom to rely, the senior conscripts offered a means to keep the rest in line, in return for the officers turning a blind eye to their bullying. Yet dedovshchina was dangerously corrosive of morale and counter-productive in combat, when squads must stick together, and it also made military service extremely unappealing, contributing to widespread draft-dodging and making it hard to attract volunteers.

    Lebed had other ideas. With the 40,000 to 50,000 troops that he had been assigned to pacify Chechnya, he clamped down on this corrosive tradition hard and fast. Any acts of brutality in enforcing this tradition found themselves dishonorably discharged and in prison, whilst every night, the bunkers were checked by Lebed’s men to see to it that no cigarettes were below the pillows to enforce the tradition. It had taken Lebed over a year to make the tradition disappear (mostly), but he had succeeded by early 1993, and his army was a well-oiled professional force that had fought together for one and a half year of brutal guerilla warfare and were now comrades in arms.

    Lebed decided that the sudden cutting off of communications between him and Dudayev had foul play somewhere, and as a former KGB trained general, he immediately believed that some kind of power redistribution had happened. He contacted Prime Minister Yavlinsky and Rutskoi immediately to confer on the situation. We do not know the entirety of their conversation but in 1999, a partial transcript was released.

    LEBED: I was in contact with Dudayev. He wanted to ask for terms. All he wanted was safety for his family. He even agreed to go to jail.
    RUTSKOI: That is something to behold I guess. What happened afterwards?
    LEBED: Communications were cut. I believe Mr. President, that the Chechen radicals found out about their leader’s double dealing and ousted him.
    YAVLINSKY: Are you sure? We cannot jump to situations in such matters of the state.
    LEBED: I grew up in the KGB during the Cold War Mr. Prime Minister. Yes, I am absolutely sure. Every direction of investigation points in favor of it.
    RUTSKOI: What would you advise General?
    LEBED: We end this. I have pinpointed the last strongholds. We storm them, and release Dudayev….if he is still alive. And then end the Chechen threat.
    YAVLINSKY: Is this wise? We are already looking bad in the international arena, due to the brutal suppression of the Chechens during Martial Law.
    LEBED: Prime Minister, the law will be lifted immediately when the war is over. Surely ending the war earlier is imperative to end the martial law?
    YAVLINSKY: …..Yes, yes you’re right. Very well. Mr. President?
    RUTSKOI: Do it

    Whatever the case may be in the political backdoor situation, Lebed got the permission he needed and on the 28th of January, airstrikes bombarded the isolated hills and mountains of Chechnya. Elements of the 27th Motorized Division attacked the village of Gukhoy and took the village in a series of heavy fighting. During the fighting, prominent Chechen General Vakha Arsanov himself was killed in the fighting. The Chechens immediately redeployed to meet this renewed threat, and the guerillas took up positions however this proved to be a decoy from Lebed, and with the Guerillas surging forward to meet this threat, the Russian 88th Infantry Division based in Ingushetia marched in and encircled the western flank of the Chechens in the Northern Caucasus. Similarly, the 87th Airborne Brigade entered the Northern Caucasus from Dagestan and flanked their eastern approach as well. The Chechens were surrounded and they fell back to their last stronghold of Kiri of the Reka Sharoargun River. The Russians attacked from three sides. In the ensuing chaos Ruslan Gelayev, another prominent Chechen General was killed in a missile strike, before the Chechens were routed in the Battle of Kiri.


    Russian troops during the Battle of Kiri.

    3,500 guerillas were captured, and 2000 were killed in the fighting. Aslan Mashkadov was taken prisoner by the Russian Army and Dudayev and his son were found unconscious, and most presumably tortured. They were immediately taken to Grozny for medication and health services. The massive scale of the defeat at the Battle of Kiri ended the Chechen War. Almost all of the remainder of the guerillas were forced to flee in Azerbaijan, which gave refuge to them. Mashkadov would later be sentenced to death for treason by the Russian government whilst Dudayev and his son were given imprisonment. Dudayev received a lifetime imprisonment whilst his younger son received 10 years’ worth of imprisonment.

    The Chechen War was over. It had taken the lives of thousands and destroyed billions in property and damage, but normality would soon return to the area as martial law was lifted. Lebed became a national hero. And Yavlinsky’s government got the nationalistic boost that it needed to survive for the 1993 Parliamentary Elections.


    From Chapter 29 of The Economic Miracle of Russia: the Rise of the Russian Bear by Jason MacLeod

    The Russian economy at the beginning of 1993 was in recession. It was a recession that had been handled pretty well, yes, however a recession was a recession, and the country was still undergoing through some tough economic times. Unemployment remained high and the state services of the former USSR, such as healthcare and education tethered on the brink of collapse. Prime Minister Yavlinsky and Economic Minister Petr Aven knew that this was a state of affairs that could not be allowed to last at all.

    The two men began planning an elaborate economic policy that would allow Russia to start recovering from the recession, which would allow the health sector and the education sector to breathe a good air of relief, whilst also allowing the privatization to continue in Russia is a measured and balanced manner. In order to get the economy up and running once again, the fact that Russia would go into debt was now a reality that the government had to face.


    John Maynard Keynes, the founder of Keynesian Economics.

    As such, if the country was going into debt as it was, then the government was going to use it to the advantage of Russia. Yavlinsky and Aven as a result, adopted Keynesian Economics as their basic model of recovery for the time being. Keynesians argue that aggregate demand does not equate to the total productive capacity of the national economy. Instead they argue that it is also affected by other factors such as national development and living standards. In particular, the standard answer in Keynesian economics to recession was coordinated policy responses from the government through state intervention and the Central Bank through banking intervention would be able to reverse the course of a recession slowly but surely. In particular, fiscal policy and monetary policy were of the essence in Keynesian economic recovery policies.

    In what became known as the Economic Recovery Act of 1993, the legislation presented to the Russian Duma was radical in its contents. It basically called for the following economic measures:-

    • A 25% increase in public spending to cover the costs of the citizens who had lost money during the recession and to compensate them for losses.
    • Considering the consolidation of wealth in the former USSR among the top 1% of the population, the creation of an Alternative Minimum Tax would passed by the government which would be calculated by taking the ordinary income and adding disallowed items and credits. This would broaden the base of taxable items and increase revenue from these top 1% who were already underpaying taxes anyway. It would then give an exemption rate of 26% - 28% which would further incentivize tax and make the revenue system more productive that it already was.
    • The establishment of the Food Voucher System as a governmental program which would provide good purchasing assistance schemes too low to no income earning citizens of the country as a national aid program. It was loosely based on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of the United States of America, but instead used vouchers instead of stamps to make it work properly.
    • The passage of the Buy Russian Article within the Act which have waivers and discounts for domestically produced Russian products. This would incentivize Russian manufacturing and increase consumer demand in the Russian Economy.
    • The raising of the Healthcare Budget by 10% and the Education budget by 5% to increase the standard of living in the country.
    All of this would cost the Russian government $50 billion dollars every year to maintain and would most assuredly mean that the government would have to go into debt. But that was the plan anyways. With the increase in production in the Buy Russian Article, domestic production within the Russian Union increased overdrive, gaining more employers and employees in the process, and the increase in social welfare increased the demand for social welfare workers as well, increasing employment in the country. Privatization also benefitted from the Buy Russian Act, and the Alternate Tax helped the Russian economy raise nearly $5 billion every year. Education and healthcare being increased also allowed the country to increase their standard of living and the voucher system kept several thousand from dying of starvation and gave employment to several unemployed chefs throughout the Union.


    Russians lining up for Food Vouchers.

    It was, like I stated earlier, a radical plan that had never been seen before. One Russian MP in the parliament protested at the radical actions of the government, stating, ‘We are trying to do too much, at the same time!’

    However Yavlinsky wasn’t done. He also passed a radical currency reform in the Russian ruble, which absorbed most of the excess monetary supply in the Russian economy, and controlled inflation throughout the Russian Union as a result. The Ruble had money borrowed from the IMF injected into it to stabilize it even further.

    It was radical, but it worked.

    Price in the Russian Union slowly returned to normal. In January when the act passed, the cost for a bottle of milk was somewhere around 40 Rubles, in February it was 37 Rubles and in March it withdrew to 31 Rubles. The actions of the government was clearly working. This was exemplified by the fact that on the 31st of March, 1993, the Russian Stock Exchange noted that the Russian economy had for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, grown by 0.9% in the first quarter of 1993. It was a monumental success. Now, Russia could truly recover economically from the collapse of the Soviet Union.


    From Chapter 33 of Post-Soviet Relations Between the Powers by Vasily Shaposhnikov

    President Nursultan Nazarbayev called for a snap legislative elections in 1993 after the authority of his government was called into question when the communists of Kazakhstan decided that they wouldn’t support the government. The Constitution of 1992 in Kazakhstan decreed that the country would have a unicameral structure based around the Supreme Council which was a 360 seat legislative body. Since Kazakhstan was a semi-Presidential Constitutional Republic, the legislative elections would prove to be an important affair. Out of the 200 seats which would be directly contested, there were over 850 candidates throughout the country. Russia was also watching the elections will ill-hidden curiosity. The Kazakhs had promised Russia that the ethnic Slavs of the country would not be discriminated against and the Russians were going to see whether this promise was going to be kept, or thrown away into the dust.

    The main opponent of the ruling People’s Union of Kazakh Unity was challenged by the People’s Congress of Kazakhstan, a liberal conservative party and the communists. At the end of the elections, the group of MPs that were in favor of President Nazarbayev won majority of the seats (106 out of the 200 directly contested seats) and the President allowed a new cabinet to form. Thankfully for the Kazakhs and to the relief of the Russians, the ethnic slavs in Russia were not discriminated against and they were allowed to vote as any Kazakh would. Around 45% of the elected body was also filled to the brim with Kazakh Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians, further consolidating the fact that the Kazakhs weren’t going to slight their large Slavic minority.


    Nursultan Nazarbayev

    Despite the rocky start that Kazakhstan had with an independent Russia, especially the dispute over nuclear weapons, the Kazakh President wanted to retain good relations with the Russian government and contacted Russia after winning the legislative elections on the 26th of March, 1993 and asked that the two nations begin negotiations to create a joint customs union between themselves. Russia was amenable to such a notion, however the idea would have to be shelved for the moment, as the conflict in Tajikistan grew larger and larger every day.

    War had broken out in Tajikistan between the old-guard of Tajik politics and a loosely coordinated alliance of democratic liberals, reformists and radical islamists. This was a surprising alliance, but they were united in their hatred of the government and thus allied with one another. The Opposition largely consisted of men from the Leninabadi region, which was historically an oppressed region in Tajikistan, whilst the government was formed out of the old Tajik Soviet elite, who were almost all of old aristocratic origin from the rich and prosperous Kulob region. Whilst the Leninabadi and Kulob elites managed to get together and reconcile their differences in late 1992 with the aid of Russian and Uzbek intermediation, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan had retaken up the fight and was now raging an Islamic insurgency all throughout the valleys and hills of Tajikistan, appealing to the Islamic nature of the Tajik people, coercing them through traditionalist ideals, and calling for a return to the pre-Soviet theological system of governance in Tajikistan. [1]


    The State of Tajikistan during the civil war. the Greatest threat was the Islamists - controlling the area in Green.

    The fighting between the factions was brutal, and the government of Russia and Kazakhstan watched on with worry about the fighting in the region. Hundreds of thousands of Tajiks were flooding the borders of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and fleeing into Russia at a time when all of the aforementioned economies weren’t faring properly only adding to the several problems that these governments had. As a result, the Russian government and the Kazakh government finally decided that enough was enough.

    On the 31st of March, 1993, the Russian government began to plan an intervention in the Tajikistani Civil War, with the intention of defeating the Islamic Radicals, ending the blatant ethnic cleansing of Pamiris and Garmis, and to restore a democratic coalition government in Tajikistan with the aid of Kazakh troops. The first international intervention of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union was about to begin.


    Chapter 48 of Post-Soviet Russian Politics: A Political History by Ruslan Vakarov.

    With the referendums of 1992, the Russians were gearing up for the first Parliamentary Elections of the Russian Union after the fall of the Soviet Union. There were five definite political parties and groups in the Russian Union that would be battling it out with one another during the elections.

    The Social Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Grigory Yavlinsky was going to be the obvious pro-governmental faction in the coming elections, and the recent end of the Chechen War and the tenacity of Yavlinsky in creating a better economy had allowed the prestige of the party to increase. Communists in the Russian Union had been discredited after the fall of the Soviet Union, however with the rise of Gennady Zyuganov and the establishment of the National Salvation Front, many communists now turned to democratic socialism and democratic communism as their main ideology within the political party.


    Yavlinsky in a televised ad during the campaign.

    The SDP was a center-left party whilst the NSF was a left party within the political sphere. The two parties were already allied in Belarus, therefore it was of no great surprise, when Yavlinsky announced on the 4th of February, 1993 that the NSF and SDP had reached an agreement with one another. The two parties had outlined general constituencies that they would not compete against each other and political accords allowed the two parties to stand candidates that would not be contested by the other party. As a result, the two parties agreed to form a pro-governmental alliance with one another.

    The emergence of this general alliance between the NSF and the SDP soured political matters on the ground between the Party of Unity and Accord led by Sergey Shahkray and Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the two premier center right and right wing parties of Russia. There was also the fact that the 1992 referendum had made the Russian Union into a parliamentary republic, and that meant that after this election, the Prime minister would be the highest executive position, and thus the elections were even more hardly contested as all party leaders were eager to nab the position for themselves. An unspoken rule in the SDP-NSF emerged wherein the leader of the party that got most of the seats would take the mantle of Prime Minister. Meanwhile the Ecological Party of Russia led by Victor Danilov-Danilyan were trying to imitate the German Green Party and were involved in agrarian politics to increase their visibility on the Russian political arena.

    There were also more than a dozen minor parties that wished to take part in the elections, however they did not manage to cross the 5% threshold made by the government making their votes in the election, largely invalid.

    The campaign for the elections was extremely competitive and something that felt rather surreal for many Russians. Thanks to 2 years of proper economic management the Social Democrats could point at their economic strongpoints. The increase in public spending certainly aided in the growth of their popularity in the country. They faced some criticism from the public regarding the high amount of deaths in the now over Chechen War, however Yavlinsky always had Aven accompany him during campaign speeches which allowed for the economy to remain the central point of the election, though some background criticism continued.

    The National Salvation Front found itself campaigning on the premise of a democratic socialist platform. Zyuganov personally led many political campaigns throughout the often neglected Russian Far East promising greater attention to the region under a hypothetical premiership of his and called for an even more conservative privatization of the country. He did disappoint hardline communists when he refused to sanction any idea of returning to a total command economy and instead he stated that the party would have to look towards Eurocommunism and the Market Socialism characteristics of China as its future in Russia.

    Unity and Accord campaigned on the grounds of social changes. They applauded the government’s attention to economic affairs, and even supported them on it, however blasted the ignorance of the government on social affairs. Shahkray in particular pointed out the social welfare pensions of the USSR were now suspended and promised to reinstitute that particular system within Russia as well. He also pandered to the regionalist feelings of many minorities in the Russian Union and promised added autonomy to Belarus, Bashkiristan, Ingushetia, Dagestan etc, to increase the coverage of his voting.

    Zhirinovsky and the LPDR campaigned on nationalistic ideals. They demanded that all irredentist lands claimed by Russian nationalists, like northern Kazakhstan, Donbass in Ukraine, Abkhazia and North Ossetia in Georgia be handed over to the Russian government and state. The party also evidently disliked the already large autonomy of the autonomous regions of the Union, and pandered to the nationalists stating that they would decrease the autonomies of many regions and increase central power.

    The Ecological Party instead pandered to the civil rights movement that was growing in Russia. Despite the constitution of Russia, the issue of LGBTs in Russia was still decidedly controversial and the issue of the Russian ecological problems came at the forefront of the party’s issues. Agrarian partisanship also became a part of the party when the party vowed to increase farming budgets throughout the Russian union. It was a good plan that would ensure a stable supply of rural supporters. More importantly, instead of focusing on the constituencies, the Ecological Party focused on the seats that would be assigned to the Duma from the List system, and increased their prominence in the proportional representation of the government and electorate.

    Due to the rather personal nature of the fact that every leader in the elections knew each other rather well (other than Zhirinovsky) and were largely allied with one another in the coalition government of 1991, they refrained from personal attacks against one another. However, attacks were levelled against Zhirinovsky as he showed that he would not refrain from personal attacks. He called Yavlinsky a pro-Western panderer and called Zyuganov a traitor to the USSR. He also levelled severe accusations against Shahkray. As a result, Yavlinsky openly called Zhirinovsky to have been a former USSR agent to create a rubber stamp opposition party and Zyuganov criticized the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party as a neo-fascist. Shahkray echoed this sentiment throughout the elections.

    1993 russian parliamentary elections.png

    At the end of the elections, the Pro-Governmental Alliance had secured a total of 331 seats in the Duma. The Pro-Government side won the majority of the seats in the elections, though the Ecological Party made a surprisingly good show winning 33 of their 40 seats from the List System, showing an adept understanding of it. After some negotiations, the SDP and NSF formed a coalition and took the reins with Yavlinsky retaining the position of Prime minister. Special Presidential Elections for the now largely ceremonial position were slated to take place on the 25th of June that year.


    [1] – During the Russian Empire, the Tajik Oblasts kept their old theocratic system of governance in most areas.
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